Louds in the Cradle: Chapter 1.
One of my favorite old movies is the original version of "Father Of The Bride" wherein we see Spencer Tracy talk to us about the events leading up to his daughter's wedding. It occurs to me that I can finally follow a story prompt Wolvenstrom fed me about how Lynn Sr really has a difficult time relating to his son when it's a lot easier to interact with his girls. The title itself calls to mind a cheesy song from the seventies about a dad who spend so much time on the road making a better life for his son, he ended up not being a part of the kid's life really.
We find ourselves in the kitchen of 1216 Franklin Avenue watching Lynn Loud Sr put the finishing touches of dinner while a golden oldies station plays on the radio. As he does so, he pauses and starts to speak.
"I'd like to talk to you about the music of my early childhood. As you might have guessed, I was too young for the Beatles, barely old enough for Mick Swagger, just old enough for Smooch and the Bee Gees and far too old for Quiet Riot. This (and my mom's preference for lighter, softer music) meant that I'd grown up listening to what we might call the musical equivalent of a diet of unflavored rice cakes."
"The reason that I mention this is that there are two songs that have embedded themselves in my mind like a tick. The first one is something called "Seasons In The Sun" by a one-hit wonder named Terry Jacks. It's a song about some guy who's dying but not quickly enough. The person is on his deathbed talking about how hard it is to die and how fleeting life is and when he finally passes on, the music changes pitch to let you know he's an ex-maudlin bore obsessed with himself."
"It usually ends up ringing in my ears when I have a 'death' dream, Y'see, every so often, I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat because The Nice Doctor or Nice Police Officer who ended up becoming the Nice Klingon on Star Trek comes over and says 'Hey, hi! Your child's dead!' Now, usually when this happens, the song isn't the one with the truck driver gear shift pitch change. This only happens when two of them are the ones who pass on: Lily and Lincoln. That's because I have no idea what they're actually supposed to do in this life and not knowing what the world is deprived of gives me the cold sweats."
"This leads me to the main course of my menu of worry: when I get to start to looking at Linc and asking myself what he's going to do with life and why he thinks running around with a towel around his neck 'makes' him a crime fighter, Horrible Song Number Two comes into play: Harry Chapin's 'Cats In The Cradle'. It's a long, depressing song about a hard-working stiff who doesn't have time for the son who wants nothing more but to spend time with his father only at the end to declaim that now that he actually has time for his son, the boy is a grown man with a life of his own who really means to pencil him in at some point but y'know, life gets in the way. When I try to solve the mystery that is Lincoln Loud, I used to that would never be me and the cycle of sons and fathers not really being able to relate would end with me. For Chrissake, the only thing I really have from my dad is a van that has to be kept street legal by a six year old girl!"
"The reason that I mention this is that I'd been forced to spend a lot of time with him during the first few weeks of Summer vacation and getting to actually talk to him about life, who he is, what he wants, why he doesn't realize that I'm an equal-opportunity fantasy-forbidding father and other things. To think that I owe it all to two people: a smart-aleck named Sid Chang and my oldest daughter."