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A Thought for Today

All of us are searching for the father of us all.


Dear Rod, Like you I never knew who my father was and I was wondering if you would reprint the Flight Plan you wrote in 1998 for Father's Day? Thanks, Timothy Eimen

Fathers Day

"My real father was a flying ace. He was a colonel and after shooting down several dozen enemy planes was shot down himself. Of course, they sent us his medals".

That piece of fiction was the first big lie I remember telling about my father. Because he was intangible, and I knew little or nothing about him, I felt the need to invent a past for him to justify my own importance. Addicted to movies - we used to see one nearly every night at the WPA camp - I secretly imagined my father as Tarzan, Clark Gable, or a Paul Bunyan-like character out of the North Woods.

- from "Finding My Father", 1976. First published in Flight Plan 6/21/98

Finding My Father

I was born a bastard.

What a connotation that word has - unwanted, unintended, and in a time when Planned Parenthood is all the rage, even unnecessary. But I have never looked in the mirror and thought of myself as a mistake nor have I, for a long time now, felt less of a human being because of my origin. Whatever my identity problems were, my mother was always able to solve them just by being there. She was a friend when I needed one, the truest council I ever had, a woman who would do I anything to ensure I was brought up in the best way she knew and never wanted for anything - especially love.

-from the British edition of "Finding My Father", 1977

To those of you who know your fathers, be good to them and whatever your differences may be, remember, they are older and no doubt wiser. And if you feel they're strict - perhaps they're trying to save you from the mistakes they made while growing, or they want to be sure you reach the potential they know you have. If you don't know your father, he's missing, deceased, deserted you and your mother or remains anonymous for whatever reason. . . . today is the day of all days to blow whatever you can or cannot afford on the best possible Fathers Day gift for your mom.

Tomorrow on Monday Morning Feedback, more reaction to “To One Absent” and the new Sentimental Saturday feature. Sleep warm.

- RM 6/18/99 with new material, 2001

Two new appearance dates just announced!

Booking for "An Evening with Rod McKuen" at the Riverton Rendezvous is open! Click below for more details:

Concert & Appearance Details

notable birthdays


Aquanetta o Art Bell o Ralph Bellamy o James Brown o Dave Concepcion o Edward Downes o M.C. Escher o Sammy Fain o Red Foley o Newt Gingrich o Charles Gounod o John Hersey o Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch o Dan Jansen o Greg Kinnear o Peter Lupus o Barry Manilow o Dean Martin o Jason Patric o Joe Piscopo o Igor Stravinsky o Carl VanVechton o John Wesley o Venus Williams o Grant Withers

Rod's random thoughts We are our father's sons and we become our fathers.

I grew, not necessarily erect. I bent sometimes. But never to the lowest branch and learned to love the smell of people's bodies making love to me as much as I loved lilacs.

In the end the songs I sing are of my own making. They mirror what has happened to me since I was abandoned by my father and by Love.

I do not lament the loss of innocence, the gain was payment far beyond imagining, and innocence is not too much to give to one who'd give you back the world.


I cannot look back far enough,
nor can I go beyond
the grove of trees
that sit like rows of ghosts
fencing me off
from whatever past
I may or may not have.

He might be
just beyond those trees
or beyond another dozen
rows of unmarked pine,
but where, which tree ?

Come forward
and be recognized and be heard.
Stretch out your hand to me
        and mine will come back
to you in return.
I only want
to see your eyes
and prove that they
         match mine.

I don't want from you
       your name
I'm satisfied I have it.
I'll make no claim
on your insurance,
                your estate
Tell your newer heirs
        they can relax.

I'll be satisfied
to touch you once
so that I can put an end
to my beginning.

 -from "Finding My Father," 1976, 1977 & "The Rod McKuen Book of Days," 1984

© 1965, 1976, 1977, 1998, 1999, 2001 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
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