Robert Frei Classic smile black and whiteThe old photographs were staring at me from the shelf.  One was a simple, candid frame of my father with a big smile and his pipe in his teeth.  The other was his four sons posing recently. It occurs to me how much we four were inspired to be like him, competed against him, fought for the lane that each of us felt was going to loft us to his approval, or perhaps just to make ourselves into what we felt we should be, much of which consisting of what we admired about him and a little bit about how we felt we should improve.  We were so damn driven, competitive, though we didn’t even know it. The competition was split into thirds. The combatants were between each other, each of us against our father and each of us pitted internally against what we felt that we should be. Which one took precedence is difficult to say and changed over time. What is clear is that we each took a unique approach. 

What occurs to me at this time is that we each surpassed him in our own individual ways but that we all missed the ideal in the total.