Messages From My Father The man was stubborn, says Calvin Trillin -- the second most stubborn member of the Trillin family -- to begin his fond, wry and affecting memoir of his father. Abe Trillin had the western Missouri accent of someone who had grown up in St. Joseph and the dreams of America of someone who had been born in Russia. He was given to swearing off things -- coffee, tobacco, alcohol, all neckties that were not yellow in color. Presumably, he had also sworn off swearing, although he was a collector of curses like May you have an injury that is not covered by workman's compensation. Although he had a strong vision of the sort of person he wanted his son to be, his explicit advice about how to behave didn't go beyond an almost lackadaisical You might as well be a mensch. Somehow, though, Abe Trillin's messages got through clearly. Admirers of Calvin Trillin's unerring sense of the American character will be entertained and touched by this quietly powerful memoir.