GOOD MORNING WORLD
Today I am counting my blessings. Later this afternoon I will arrive at 288 Main Street to give my 91 year old father a huge hug! I am blessed. The party and gifts will wait for tomorrow so cannot share the excitement about what I brought to give Daddy. I am sure he will be “GREAT!”
I have already shared much about my dad and not sure what more I can say about this terrific man. Perhaps I can tell you what I have learned from him.
I learned that being positive is just as easy as being negative. He would come downstairs, walk by the mirror in the living room on his way to the kitchen and stop and throw his arms out speaking to the mirror and say, “Who is the best looking man in town and why am I?” Now I am not sure he was convincing himself or trying to convince us. Either way it was common. He was gregarious and friendly and we became the same. I think about him losing two wives to cancer and he married again. That either says something about his positive hopeful nature or it says he cannot take care of himself and selects terrific women to do the job.
I learned that we have to help our friends and neighbors. One of his best friends was Don Berry. At an early age Don was diagnosed with MS. In the 60s this was really a new disease. Don worked and was active as long as he could be until he eventually was bedridden. Don’s daughter Shirley was a BFF and one of the ‘Triumvirate’. We were friends from the cradle. She became a nurse. She often would tell me that no one would believe what her father’s brothers and friends did for him. She maintained that it would only happen in a small town and not sure it would happen in this day and age. Once Don was bedridden his brothers or friends would go every single night – let me repeat that – every single night to get him up and let him sit in a chair to eat supper and watch the news. Then they would go back a few hours later and put him back in bed. Daddy was part of the friends. While there are other lessons of generosity as well, this one really tells the story best.
I learned to try new things. Daddy played on an adult hometown baseball team. He took up golf and was very good at it. He just stopped this year. He helped organize a reunion for his army buddies and kept them all in touch. He did not stay behind the counter in the store. When it was offered he went on the road selling. He was very good and became known throughout Maine as ‘Honest Les’! When the company moved and was sold he went with them though he did not make us move as well. He took on the job of getting back and forth to work. He was a traveling salesman so he coordinated his travels to leave us stay put in our same town and home. I remember the discussions about moving us all. Got to say a big thank you for the choice not to do so.
I learned loyalty from my father. If he was your friend he was your friend forever. People would come and go from his life and he kept up the relationship if possible. He would go visit friends who were ill even though he himself was slowing down. One poignant memory comes to mind. I was standing with Dad at the graveside as they buried one of his long time friends. Dad leaned down to the ground for a moment and touched the site. I was not sure what in the world he was doing. He stood up and leaned over and said, “I just stuck a golf ball under there. Fred might just need it.”
My dad cried! He showed me that it was okay for men to have emotions. What a gift to share in a world when men were not supposed to cry. I know it mortifies him to do so and yet it tenderizes him while still being strong. I learned that real strong men do have emotions.
I would not say Daddy is a God. He has had his share of troubles. I am however holding out for immortality. I am grateful to be his daughter. I am blessed.
Happy Birthday Daddio!!!
…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…