Kage Baker was the eldest daughter of George Henry Baker. Kage got his black eyes, his cheekbones, the dimple in his chin. Also an inhuman determination.
George Henry was the eldest boy of 18 kids (mobs run in the family), a Catholic boy from Hamtramk who spoke only French until he was 4. He was a survivor of the Great Depression and WWII, a postman, a long distance traveler. A hero.
He’d been a sharpshooter, a powder monkey, and an itinerant chicken medicine salesman in his pre-Dad youth. All his knuckles were broken in a career as a welterweight fighter (he was tall but skinny). He was American Indian, black haired and onyx-eyed; and when his hair greyed, which it did early, thanks to battle wounds, malaria and a heart attack, he turned out to resemble Humphrey Bogart. That was how he looked throughout Kage’s life; she said he was pretty much changeless from her first memory until he died.
Kage admired fatherly men. Popular folklore says we all look for men like our Dads, but I don’t think so – and except for liking ’em tall and skinny, Kage did not favour the kind of grim-eyed warrior Dad was. She liked gardeners, poets, healers; men of their hands, makers and builders.
However … quiet old men with memories in their eyes made her feel safe. She liked to curl up on a paternal lap, shelter in some war cloak and be told stories. It was the Young Lord who evoked all her song and passion – it was the Father to whom she prayed. The heart being a complicated place, she had no trouble balancing this and still considering herself a Christian.
“It’s the Mystery of the Trinity,” she would say, waving one dismissing hand when I sometimes brought this up. (A classic theological education makes for some odd dinner conversations …) “It was made for people like me!”
“It’s supposed to be a Unity, not a pantheon,” I would observe snarkily.
“You could get your nose punched in any bar in Constantinople for that argument, once upon a time,” Kage would ponder. Then, “Hey – how are icons supposed to work? How could they be made to really work? How would an icon work on …. Operatives?”
It all leads back to creation, somehow, doesn’t it?
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.