April 18, 1980

Today is the 27th anniversary of my Dad’s death.

From my Dad, I got my thin, straight hair. My huge feet. My low blood pressure.

I also got an abiding respect for all humanity, regardless of race or creed or gender or national origin. An eclectic taste in music, from Mozart, to Gilbert & Sullivan, to Glenn Miller, to a whole series of songs no one else has ever heard (to my lasting chagrin, he never did like the Beatles). A respect for alcohol — he was the only member of my family (myself included) who never, to my knowledge, abused it.

My father was a strong, gentle, even-tempered man. During my adolescence, I think it was his calmness that kept my mother & I from inflicting serious injury on each other. It was Dad to whom I turned if I needed to cut class because I hadn’t completed a project, or if I was in some other kind of trouble. He’d somehow manage to keep my more volatile mother in check.

Dad was so looking forward to retirement — to having a relaxing time with Mom whom he cherished, living on the water, boating and fishing — after years of hard work, scrimping & saving, raising kids, and building their dream retirement home. Sadly, that wasn’t to be. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer when he was 63, and was only 64 when he died.

Dad showed the same faith, courage and strength facing death as did my mother. I remember asking him, perhaps a month before he died, whether he was scared to die. He responded that he wasn’t scared, just disappointed.

I don’t know what form the afterlife may take, but I take comfort that on some level, in some way, Dad’s disappointment has turned to joy, now that Mom has joined him.

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