Dad You Be Killin Em: Ed Bravo

June 12, 2012

We have so much to thank our fathers for. In addition to teaching us how to ride bikes and be good sports, they’ve also been our sagely guides through life. As a small token of our affection, we’re counting down to Father's Day (this Sunday, heads up!) by celebrating our dads’ style, wit and wisdom.

What did your dad like to wear? Not much, apparently! Just kidding, Dad! Hope you're not mad at me for posting shirtless pictures of you all over the internet (apologies to my dad's identical twin, also in the picture above). My dad is a real Levi's and t-shirt kind of guy, or, if he's going out to dinner, he'll throw on a button down. My husband always says that he loves that my dad wears boat shoes to work, which normally wouldn't be a noteworthy or unusual thing, if my dad didn't work on construction sites. He's a finish carpenter, meaning he focuses on fine woodworking, elaborate molding, built-in furniture, staircases, things like this. When all the other dudes are wearing steel toes, my dad strolls in wearing boat shoes. I feel like this sums his style up well: he can pretty much fix anything but he'll also make things with mind-boggling precision, practicality and elegance. He's also colorblind, which makes the jeans/khakis + shirt combo a safe bet.

What music did he listen to? My dad plays guitar and growing up we always had guitars lying around the living room that he'd just play causally and sing to at night. When I was very little, he used to play me "Sugar Mountain" on his 12-string with his harmonica, screwing his voice into a nasally whine to make me laugh. I'm not sure when I actually realized he wasn't just clowning around, but actually aping Neil Young. Still, I enjoy the joke to this day (and am unsurprisingly fond of Neil Young). His musical tastes extend pretty naturally from there, we listened to every CSN and Jackson Browne album ever made. Saturate Before Using is hardwired into my brain like nothing else, and every time I hear Nico's popular take on "These Days" I think more of her old beau Browne than anything else. I have many vivid memories of driving in the car with my dad, listening to music, and him rewinding something, turning up the music to point out this beat or that harmony. I very vividly remember sitting in the driveway, waiting for the truck to warm up (good ol' bitter New England), listening to Ziggy Stardust and him pointing out how awesome the beat sounds on "Soul Love"—it's got a thin, echoey sound. To this day, I point it out to everyone I listen to that song with. My parents divorced when I was about eight, so I'd spend every other weekend with at my dads. I'm not sure how it started, but when I was in middle school, we started going out to this restaurant that had live folk music upstairs on the weekend. It was called The Old Vienna Coffee House or something like that. We'd eat bad Austrian food and shuffle upstairs to see a harpist or some guitarist. My dad also took me to Lilith Fair when I was in middle school. He bought me my first guitar to see if I liked it, and when I got decent enough he bought me a nice guitar for Christmas. He actually bought two because he couldn't decide which he liked more in the guitar shop. I wasn't sure he'd ever actually return the one I didn't choose! I was happy to return the favor to him a few years ago when I, along with everyone else in the world, rediscovered Graham Nash's Songs For Beginners. I burned him a copy and mailed it to him. He really loves "Wounded Bird"

What would he say? Does he have a favorite phrase or saying? Something anecdote-y. Oh man, there are too many. One that sticks out pretty vividly is "it's like robbing Peter to pay Paul" —this is usually concerning the economics of running his own business, considering parts, labor and paying out his subcontractors. I'm sure there are more but they are so second nature I can't think of them.

Dad You Be Killin Em: Ed Bravo