Remembering Dad on Father's Day and beyond...
This past Sunday was Father's Day. I was flat-out lucky to have such a rock solid Father for 50 years of my life when a few of my closest friends loss their Dad when they were teenagers.
My Dad made it to 84 despite smoking unfiltered cigarettes up until a few months before he passed of Lung Cancer. His healthy counter to cigarettes was eating oatmeal each morning and fresh fruit after every meal.
He didn’t stress much. Dad was as cool as the Jazz music he loved to listen to. Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey and Stan Kenton were his favorites. I guess being on a Naval carrier (USS Antietam CV-36) at 18 during WWII in the Pacific helped him deal effectively with stress.
Dad was a good provider while supporting three kids with a stay at home wife. He was steady as in working for Pepsi-Cola for 35 years, married for 57 years and lived in the same house he owned for 47.
Dad wasn’t an emotional man who told us three kids I love you very often and there were no hugs. He taught us early about respect, earning your keep, working hard and keeping your mouth shut. I did that when I was hired to work summers while in college at his place of employment. Though being loquacious at that age, I worked hard those summers and said next to nothing.
His actions spoke volumes. While having a conversation with Dad we kept it short since he was a no nonsense man of few words. He could quickly read people like a book and size them up in a sentence or two; a gift. He was a man of principles who loved his family without using the word love like napkins, loved his country and the horses.
OTB was his favorite getaway place. He never bet over his head. We always had plenty to eat and the bills were paid. Going to OTB on almost a daily basis after he retired was his hobby as was reading the Daily Racing Form a daily ritual.
The conversation I would of had with my father considering this year there was yet another Triple Crown Winner named Justify. American Pharoah did it last in 2015 and prior to that it was 1978 when Affirmed accomplished the same amazing feat.
The Triple Crown races were the only three races each year I would watch with Dad. He was so knowledgeable about horse racing. I would place a small wager just on those races so we could bond a bit more each time.
Now, we go visit him at Calverton National Cemetery each Father’s Day on every Holiday and for his birthday. My sister, brother and I are very grateful for the great Father we had for so long.
I recommend you respect and cherish the remaining time you have with your Father on and after Father's Day, especially if you are 50 plus years of age.
Appreciate and be grateful he’s still with you at age 50 or 60. Do for him, what he sacrificed to do for you, your family and our country; if he served. Make every Father’s Day memorable to him while they last. Take the time today and everyday to listen to his words of wisdom.