He felt strongly about his family. He worked hard to make it safe and comfortable. He believed in duty to his country to protect his family. He had started that family in the waning years of the Great Depression and then in the early ’40s, with a wife and two small children, going to war at age 37 was not an option. What could he do? The Civilian Defense: he was given a white helmet, an armband and patrolled the neighborhood during blackouts looking for forbidden lights ... and he watched the sky.

And he gave blood. No one knew him to miss a blood drive through the entire duration of the war and beyond. At Memorial Day, he offered his thanks to those who did go to war for him and his family. The medals went to others who served, but those close to him knew and respected him for who he was. He did not need May 30 and the third Sunday in June to be remembered. He gave the best of himself to his family and they knew. I knew. He was my father.

As Father’s Day approaches, I think of a favorite song of mine by jazz pianist/composer Horace Silver: “Song for My Father.” This classic jazz standard celebrates the memory and Portuguese/Cape Verdean heritage of Silver’s father. The melody glistens with folk influences from Cape Verde and Bossa Nova from Brazil, both former colonies of Portugal.

This little song for my father

Does things that no other

Can do

As I sing it to you

It has a rhythm and rhyme

That will fasten his memory

In time

As his beauty shines through

We bow our heads and we pray

Every day’s Father’s Day

Let’s review

All that he means to you

So, here’s what we do on Sunday, June 20: set out a spread of fish fillets sautéed in olive oil, curried rice, a salad of fresh, raw vegetables and pour the Portuguese white wine Vinho Verde. This can be a pleasant summer wine. It is light in alcohol at 9 or 9.5 percent by volume. It is crisp, spritzy and fruity with lemonade-like flavors and a touch of melon. At Thriftway JC Market you can find Broadbent Vinho Verde ($8.99) with a bright red flower on the label painted by a four-year-old artist. At the Wine Cellar in Nye Beach, Anjos de Portugal Vinho Verde is $7.95.

This is summer dining. Or even a picnic. Bring the piano out on the grass. Raise a glass of this modest Portuguese white. And sing these lyrics Horace Silver wrote for John Tavares Silver and all of our fathers:


Joseph Swafford jcswaf@charter.net

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