Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Of Fathers and Sons



“Nice sweater,” says my friend.

She's right. It is a handsome sweater, though maybe a little incongruous on me, who generally wear black: hand-knitted Icelandic wool, cream, with russet yoke and bands around the wrists and waist, outlines in dark chocolate, and hodden green highlights. It's also very warm.

I gave it to my father one year for Yule. A little Icelandic woolens store had opened up downtown on Nicollet Mall. This particular sweater caught my eye: it had a certain monumental quality to it, architectonic, even. Not once on any of my visits back East did I ever see him wear it. Oh well, I thought, a little sadly: too showy for him, maybe. It certainly wouldn't have been the first disconnect in our relationship, nor the last. It took us years to learn how to communicate with one another. Maybe there was just too much to be said.

Going through the photos after my father's funeral this summer, I noted with surprise that in picture after picture, he was wearing the sweater.

“Oh yeah, that was dad's favorite sweater,” my sister told me. “He wore it all the time.”

Months later, wearing it now myself, I think of understanding and misconstrual, of all the things said and unsaid down the years.

“Thanks,” I say. “It was my father's.”

I leave it at that. Sometimes there's just too much to be said.




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Tagged in: fathers raising sons
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Molly
    Molly Wednesday, 12 January 2022

    What a bittersweet story that shares so much in such a short space.

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