THANKS POP: Me and dad, circa 1950.

  • THANKS POP: Me and dad, circa 1950.

Columnists all over are writing about Father’s Day today. I’ve probably written before about my dad’s influence on what I do. He read at least three newspapers daily — the Lake Charles American Press, the Beaumont Enterprise and the Wall Street Journal. He’d often mix in the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate or the New Orleans Times-Picayune or one of the Houston newspapers. (What a wealth of choices we had in the southwest corner of Louisiana in those days.) When we traveled, he loved to sit in a hotel lobby, reading the local newspaper and watching people go by. I inherited this favorite pastime.

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He wore leather-soled dress shoes to work. I looked forward to his distinctive clapping footfall as he strode up the concrete walk in the afternoon, bringing a happy outlook and the evening newspaper.

Once, after he’d died, I had gone home to visit my hospitalized mother. She was smiling when I walked into her room. “I knew it was you,” she said. “It sounded just like your dad walking up the hall.”

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Another day, I was sitting in the lobby of the Royal Orleans Hotel in New Orleans, talking to Ellen. A man sitting nearby said, “You must be Waddell Brantley’s son.” The timbre of my voice, the cadence, the accent — something — carried dad’s imprint, though our physical resemblance was scant.

It made me very happy that I reminded someone of my father.

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