With Father’s Day fast approaching, many people’s thoughts are turning to cherished memories of time spent with dad. Every child has favorite moments captured like photographs in his or her mind, perhaps idealized over time. This line between memory and imagination is explored in a new book entitled the perfect father, by Santa Barbara author Blake Beltram.

The semi-autobiographical story, which comes in at less than 50 pages, follows an overnight father-son fishing trip and centers on their bond formed through these regular jaunts into the forests of Oregon. Told from the son’s point of view, the memory of the excursion seems to take on an air of fantasy. “What’s interesting about some details is that I no longer remember exactly what is true and what I made up,” said Beltram. “In the end it’s a mixture of truth and fantasy.”

The narrative is interspersed with anecdotes about the relationship between the father and son. Small details such as the ritual in their fishing techniques or the father’s cigars will resonate with many people in memories of their own fathers.

But the parallel storyline of the narrator’s best friend, Chet, lends additional meaning to an otherwise lighthearted story. Chet’s compassion shows that a simple act, such as reading aloud to an elderly neighbor, can form the most unlikely – and often most meaningful – relationships. Beltram explained, “Maybe a more subtle message [is] that while we don’t choose our fathers, we have the power to choose who and what we accept as our fatherly influences.”

What does Beltram hope fathers will take away from his story? “A reminder of just how vitally important it is to take time and make time and create those moments that their sons and daughters will remember…You are creating a legacy day by day, intended or not, so be intentional about it and make it a good one.”

So, if you can’t write your dad a story this Father’s Day, you can always enjoy reading Beltram’s the perfect father together, available at Borders and Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara. For more information on other publications by Blake Beltram, please contact him directly at blake@beltram.org.


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