Remembering Dad


Brian Golden

In my mind, the toughest part of January 19 (this year the second anniversary of my father’s death) is that my Dad and I did not have a “typical” father-son relationship. My father was one of my best friends, my boss, business partner and bass player in Happiness Hotel (the band which my other best friend Eric and I formed in high-school).
My memory and obsession with the past, as many of my friends are wont to remind me, are not always of great benefit to me, and sometimes quite detrimental. Yet I thought I’d use this blog to share some of my memories of my father, who would have turned 56 on November 10, 2009.
I enjoyed many activities with Dad, including water-skiing, billiards, table tennis, hiking to the “cave-rocks”, chess, watching the New York Football Giants (and throwing the football at halftime), building the house where I now reside and music among them. In the end, that list had faded, including only billiards, Giant’s games and music.
Music was the one thing guaranteed to get my Dad going. His love and appreciation for the art-form was unlike anything else in his life, and he was my biggest supporter as I matured and began writing songs (his favorite was a song titled “Casual”, the writing of which is a story unto itself). As the bass player for Ivan Shroud, my father performed all over New York and other states, playing what is now considered “classic rock”, yet were then the top tunes of the day. I never saw my Dad so happy as the day we began playing and recording music together.
When his parents died, we all saw Dad change. He became a kind of workaholic, and although this helped him to build what is now my immense house, and to run a successful small carpeting business, the change was not always for the good. When I became old enough, I worked for Dad, and the times we had installing carpet are some I will always remember, the good and the bad. Eventually, he made me his partner in the business, and for years we traveled all over Chenango County, overcoming some incredibly difficult installations and meeting a host of cool people.
I was lucky enough to be in the hospital room with my father when he passed. I say lucky because I was able to hold his hand and tell him what a great job he did, and to tell him it was okay to go, he had suffered enough and I loved him. He passed the moment I said this, and I know he could hear me.
I have many regrets when it comes to my father. He will never get to meet his grandchildren (if I ever have kids of my own, I’m not getting any younger), I’ve already written a handful of tunes that he’ll never hear and the business we ran so well together is now history. Yet I have faith that somewhere up there my father is watching me, telling me it’s all okay and that he loves me, and hopefully is proud of what I’m trying so hard to do with my life.
So here’s to you Dad. I think tonight I’ll sit at home, in the house that we built together, look at some old pictures and propose a toast.
“He may not have been perfect, but who of us is, and may he rest in peace. Love you Dad.”