So even though a good number of you know my Dad is no longer alive, there are probably very few of you that know much detail or history of the earlier years of my life and the love that I feel as the result of the amazing parenting I had and continue to be lucky enough to enjoy from my Mom.
My Dad, James H. Herbert Jr. who has been deceased for almost 15 years was the son of a New York attorney, James H Herbert, Sr. and I am lucky enough to be a third consecutive generation, thus James H. Herbert III. My Dad grew up in New York in Westchester County. Pelham to be specific. Pretty much every summer we would come out to New York to visit in late July through early August. On a number of occasions my Dad and I would make a day trip to the city on the train to shop and explore. I would buy a new toy Corgi car at FAO Schwartz and we would get coffee sodas at Shraft’s Ice Cream parlor. I have only vague recollections of anything else but I do definitely remember those special specifics.
So as part of our Day number 2 in NYC Christiana had researched and found out that the original FAO Schwartz store was either re-opened or still open on 5th Avenue. As a surprise at the end of our morning walk she led me into the famous front door with the uniformed toy soldier. It pretty much moved me to tears. We spent the next hour or so messing around in a toy store where they remind you as you walk in that it’s time to “act like a kid. It’s a toy store!” It was a very special hour indeed that blended the past and the present. I fondly recalled a time many years ago on one hand and on the other, I celebrated playing like a kid in the present.
Then later that same night we went to see a story where the father and son relationship played such a huge role – The Lion King. Now pardon me if it sounds a little corny, but after walking through the streets of the city where my Dad grew up and worked in the early years of his life, shopping at FAO Schwartz and thinking about coffee sodas, a Disney classic takes on a deeper meaning than it might otherwise. Believe it or not I had never even seen the movie the Lion King prior to this show, but I do know the basic tenants of the story. If you are one of the 3 or 4 humans on the face of the earth that has no knowledge of the story, suffice it to say it reminds us all that the great examples of people in our past that are departed (in this case the Lion father) live within us at all times. It’s a classic lesson not just for young children but for all ages which is obviously why the story is one of the most popular of all time.
We originally tried to get tickets to Book of Mormon but when they were price prohibitive we picked the Lion King instead. Its wonderful how things work out the way they are supposed to if you let them. On this day that was such a wonderful reminder of the good luck I have had to be raised by such amazing parents, how special it was to see this story. I think so many people I know who have lost a parent have some sort of sense of unfinished business or a few regrets. I can’t say that I don’t miss my Dad, but I have for years been telling people that I have no regrets.
Never in a million years did I ever think that I would write anything that would end with the words “My Dad was an awful lot like Mufasa”….
…but I guess I just did.