“It has been said that, “Discretion is the better part of valor”” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers
This is my father, Odnei Gargantini, born on February 19th. I hadn’t seen him for 6 years and this past March I made a point to go to Brazil to photograph him for this project. My father is a man of few words. I grew up scared of him since he is freakishly tall (for a young me), always sported long hair and a seriously bushy beard. And on top of that he has piercing green eyes! But life happened, I grew up, moved away and we all became more mature, and wiser. Today I can see past the scary facade he puts on to avoid letting people in, and I can say, with an open heart, that I am very proud to call him my father. He is a man of few words, but when he speaks, it speaks volumes. – Camila G
Image © Camila Gargantini
An Interview with Odnei
Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?
A. I don’t have good or bad (memories) from my birthday. Unfortunately I don’t pay much attention to dates in general… there was a time that I forgot about it (my own birthday) and only remembered it 15 days later!
Q. How about the worst? And why?
A. (No answer)
Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?
A. In the early 1960’s when I got a bicycle.
Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist in eating during your birthday celebration?
A. In my life I require very little. I am happy being healthy and maintaining it. I don’t really my a point of having anything specific although I have some preferencies (but not specific to my birthday since I don’t even pay attention to dates anyway)…
Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?
A. As I mentioned before, I don’t really differentiate between dates in this aspect, so I don’t really have any particular take on this.
Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?
A. No. Fortunately or unfortunately, it doesn’t exist.
Side note: Today, as I write this blog post it is April 13th. My birthday was 2 days ago. I never got a call from my father. But yesterday, one day late, he called me and said “I forgot your birthday!” and I replied “Yup”. He then said, “What a surprise huh?” with a slightly sarcastic voice. We continued a conversation… – Camila G