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Remembering Dad on Father's Day and beyond. How flat-out lucky I was.


Sunday, June 19th was Father's Day. Don't wait until then to appreciate that you still have a father, especially if you are 50 years of age and older. Cherish the time you spend with your father on that special day and every day if you are lucky enough to have one at an advanced age. Listen to his words of wisdom. Share in the special family memories he has. Listen to the stories your father wants to tell.

I was flat-out lucky to have such a rock-solid Father for nearly 50 years of my life when a few of my closest friends lost 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 46 years.

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 and 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 have had with my father, considering there was yet another Triple Crown Winner. That horse was named Justify. American Pharoah did it last in 2015 and prior to that, it wasn't until 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, for his Birthday, and for every Holiday. My sister, brother, and I are very grateful for the great Father we had for so long.

Appreciate and be grateful he’s still with you. Do for him, what he sacrificed to do for you, your family, and our country; if he served. Make every day memorable to him while they last.

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