You’ll have to imagine his deep, blue eyes.
That’s my Dad, George, around age 18. He wasn’t just a good looking fellow. He was a real gentleman and a genuinely nice guy, with a great sense of humor. Had the Alzheimer’s not taken him, Dad would have been 89 years old today. But he passed 21 years ago next month, at the age of 68. The acute grief of the early years has long since eased. But there are so many times when I wish I could tell Dad something; share something with him; make him laugh; tell him I love you and thank you once again.
For instance, when we bought an HD-TV and tuned in to a sports network, I thought: “Man, Dad would have loved watching Bruins’ hockey or the Patriots play football on a television like this!” Back when we first had access to UHF in the mid 1970s, the Boston Bruins’ matches were broadcast on channel 38 out of Boston. Dad would get the tiny black and white TV set up "just so" in the northernmost bedroom on the second story of our home in Rhode Island. Then he would painstakingly adjust the rabbit ear antennas until a snowy, static-y picture emerged. I don’t think he could even see the puck for the snow, so HD-TV would have been a revelation!
Other times when I miss my Dad are food related. When we first discovered the beer from the microbrewery in Bar Harbor, I wanted Dad to try it. It was the same thing with Ethiopian and Eritrean food. Dad enjoyed spicy, exotic meals and I think he would have gotten a kick out of eating the Injera soaked with lamb and chicken dishes, heavy with berbere sauce.
But I miss Dad most when I’m happy. Family was everything to Dad. His career was secondary; primarily a means to provide for all of us. I’m lucky to still be able to talk with my Mom every day. And Mom has been able to be at her grandchildren’s weddings and other festive occasions. Yet those are the moments when I think how much Dad would have treasured, celebrated and loved being there in the middle of his joyous, laughing, dancing loved ones. Then again, those are the moments when he really is with us most intensely in spirit.
Happy Birthday Dad. Thank you for everything. I love you.