Friday, January 16, 2009


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.


Nana Fi said...

What a handsome young man he was. That is a great photo. You never stop missing them, time just eases the pain but never removes the memories which is great when the memories are so wonderful. Fiona

Papamoka said...

I loved the relationship with food that you and your Dad had. I try to build memories with my five little ones on specialty dishes that only Papa makes. Potato pancakes topped with sour cream and cottage cheese!

You were a very lucky person to have had him part of your life. God bless him and happy birthday to him. Toss back a beer in his memory. Tis an old Irish tradition.

Pink Granite said...

Hi Fiona -
Thank you!
You're so right about the happy memories overcoming the grief. I'm grateful to have so many good ones of my Dad.
- Lee

Hi Papamoka -
My Dad used to make us pancakes for dinner Halloween night, before we went out to trick-or-treat with him!
Dad was not the primary cook in our family, except for grilling, so how he came up with the idea of pancakes and maple syrup before we went out to collect candy leaves me puzzled. But it is a very happy memory.
I imagine your children will always treasure the memory of Dad's special potato pancakes!
And your right, raising a glass in a loved one's memory is fine old Irish tradition!
- Lee

Wendy said...

cue the ugly cry! You have such wonderful memories of your dad and the best thing is you knew he loved you . Its the happy times that are the worst when a family member is missing but I am sure he shares them with you in some way. what a lovely post.

Pink Granite said...

Hi Wendy -
You're right. It is wonderful to know that my Dad really loved me. I think, I hope, he knew that love was returned.
Thank you so much.
- Lee

Sue said...

Such a moving post, I have leaking eyes and people are looking at me funny. I love the way you are able to describe your relationship with your dad, he sounded like a wonderful man and I'm sure he knows exactly how much you miss having him around. My grandmother died 21 years ago in December past, also at the age of 68...

Sue x

Pink Granite said...

Hi Sue -
Oh dear, I didn't mean to trigger tears.
My Dad passed 21 years ago next month. So we both lost loved ones around the same time - and both of them were much too young.

Dad was very loving, but he had a tough side as well. And my sisters and I surely tried and taxed his patience!
- Lee