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My Dad was a saint.

One definition of a saint:  Ideal: model of excellence or perfection of a kind; one having no equal

My Dad was a saint; certainly in my eyes, no surprise there.

He would be 100 years old today, July 5 2010---as he was born in 1910

What follows are some random thoughts on My Dad……..

Hopefully, many of you have pleasant memories of your Dad.

My dad died some 32 years ago now.  He died after a bout with cancer that lasted only six months.  I was the one that had to tell him that what he had was terminal.

It was one of the most difficult things I ever did.   Even the doctors didn’t have the guts to tell him straight out.

He handled it like everything else in his life--quietly, without anger; and with a reserve that allowed him to remain calm despite difficulties around him.

My Dad grew up, and worked  on a farm in NH in his early years; later spent most of the rest of his life in a woolen mill.  Never made more than a few hundred dollars a week; at any time in his life.  Yet his 3 children  never seemed to go without basic things that we wanted at the time.  Yes, it was a simpler time, but it was a happy time too.
When the mill finally closed, and he was near retirement—he took a job as a janitor at a local high school—and gave it the same dedication as if it was the most important job he ever had.  He took the job because he knew he still had responsibility for finances at home.

Dad was from a time when work was something that was considered a responsibility-not only for getting wages; but for loyalty to the job itself.  I’d be surprised if he ever took 15 days of sick time in his whole life. It was always important to get to work----whether sick, or whether there was a foot of snow on the ground.

Dad never let on how things were.  Nothing ever seemed to bother him---at least he didn’t show it.  One of his kids (me) was constantly in a hospital due to problems from birth; yet he dealt with it---both the emotional; and the financial; and never said boo.

He dealt with that stress, seeing his 7 yr old son go in to Boston Childrens Hospital for one of the first open heart surgeries at the time. He took many 100 mile trips to Boston to deal with whatever might happen.  Still, he was always upbeat....

When I was young and got my first bike, I remember him coming out to help me learn how to ride this 2 wheeler. Put me on it and guided me around a few times and then said; “go”.  I did.  Fell ten foot away.  He helped me up and we did it again; this time it went a little better—went down a driveway maybe 50 feet, and stopped.

He yelled about how good that was, and helped me one more time.  That was all a little boy needed.

He was always supportive in his quiet way—even when I was 16 and caught in a school at midnight, by a policeman (playing basketball); or when he was called by them when I smashed a car due to falling asleep at the wheel after drinking.  Never raised his voice, never threatened.  Always handed out the right amount of discipline.  Those times—it was easy; getting nabbed was enough humiliation for me; nothing more needed to be done.

However, when I lied, or hid the truth---look out.  I received a nice belt once for lying about where I had been for several hours. I was 14 at the time; and I can still feel the pain on my rear from that belt---sure wished I had gone to the movie, instead of the pool hall.
Only time he ever hit me that way—never before, never after.  Lesson learned.

As college days came for me, he always found a way to send me the extra money that I always squandered. He always found time to drive me back the 2 hours to school when I popped home for an unexpected weekend.  I’m sure there were many Sundays he would rather have spent at home than drive the 4 hours to and from my school.  Never complained.

He stayed married to his wife for over 50 years---something none of his 3 children were able to do.  He saw the responsibility to both wife and children.  As time went on, and grandkids came; there was extra delight in his eyes whenever they were around.

He lived a very simple life; loved hunting & fishing, in the woods and in the lakes of NH.
Had many guns, yet respected them for what they were---something to handled with safety and with care.  He likely never read a book in his life other than a school text---and considering he never graduated from high school; not many of those.

Yet he read a daily newspaper every day, and was abreast of what was happening in the world---but you could talk to him for hours and not know his politics.

He succeeded in life because he believed in two basic  things: work hard and be honest.

Those two traits have guided me to some measure of success in my life---yet miles short of what he was.

My Dad was a saint; ….I bet he’s still Up There watching out for me.

BTW- Mom was pretty special, too.

Originally posted to Phil S 33 on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 05:17 AM PDT.

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