Saturday, January 28, 2012

Super Bowl Recall: A Giant Of A Dad

My dad would be turning 100 on Feb. 4.

The name of my all-time hero was Charles Dickens Fox.

Terrific timing. Three days later, on Feb. 7, 2012, the author he was named after celebrates his 200th birthday.

Charles Dickens and Charles Dickens Fox. So the former wrote "A Christmas Carol" among his library of brilliance. But on the pedestal of my life, Charles D. Fox stands tallest. He was a fearless World War II and Korean War Army officer. He shone as a husband and father. And so what if he didn't produce "Great Expectations"; Dad wielded the cleverest fountain pen I ever saw in action.

Typical missives (his word) included:

Alas alack, anon and enow felicity from Shakespearean English.

Inconsistencies of opinion, due to a change of circumstance, are often justifiable, a variation of Daniel Webster's line.

Sydney, please draw my bath, from his WWII trans-Atlantic crossing.

Then there were Dad's names for me:

Buster, from Buster Brown.

Lefty, from Lefty Grove, joined the vernacular after finishing in the running for greatest righty pitcher in the Stars & Stripes baseball centennial poll in 1969.

Boy, because I was one.

Right this minute I'm watching highlights of the January 1972 Super Bowl, the one in which Dallas won its first title by manhandling Miami. And man, does that rewind our joy watching it together.

In those black-and-white days living in Germany, Americans had to find an Air Force base to catch big games on TV. So we traipsed (another Dad word) an hour north from Heidelberg to Frankfurt's Rhein-Main Air Base to see Tom Landry finally win the big one.

How we could've cheered together now. ESPN. NFL Network. MLB Network. The NBA all over the tube and Internet. Email. Texting. FaceTime.

Charlie Fox and I would be having a ball discoursing, especially now in the thick of Super Bowl week. Forty years after that Cowboy-Dolphin clash comes Giants-Pats. Dad was a New Yorker. He relished recalling the 1958 Greatest Game Ever Played, the one Johnny Unitas pulled out for the Baltimore Colts at Yankee Stadium.

Eleven years after that, Dad and I huddled near the radio as the Jets' Joe Namath returned football's crown to New York by stunning Unitas and the Colts.

Gotta believe that now Charlie Fox would be pulling for the Giants. He and I would be tackling the Eli-Brady rivalry, the parallels with the 2007 season, whether New York's D could pressure Brady the way it did in the Giants' upset four years ago.

I visualize us pulling for New York and wondering how the oddsmakers could make New England a three-point favorite.

Wish he'd be watching with me Sunday. Wish he were alive and not at Arlington National Cemetery, where we buried him in 1989.

As it is, old Heidelberg buddies Derrick and Warren Jones will be here for kickoff. We'll roar for the Giants and laugh up our growing-up days.

You can bet that a couple of times one name will bounce around the Bowl: Charles Dickens Fox.

Bucky Fox is an author and editor in Southern California: