Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Thank You Notes to My Dad

Last Sunday was my Dad's birthday. 

 


He would have been 107 had he lived.  He always said he would live to be a 100 and I think he would have had he not refused treatment for his treatable cancer.

With family members strewn all over the country and other family members no longer with us, I use birthdays as a time to remember the person.  But I also especially like to reflect on my parents and those who came before me.  I am a firm believer in the fact that you need to know where you have been to know who you are.

But on Sunday I was particularly thinking about my Dad and feeling grateful for the time I had with him and all he gave me.  I also thought about the man he was. 

And so in his spirit (he had a great sense of humor) and thinking about writing this blog post about him, I thought of Jimmy Fallon's "Thank You Notes" segment on The Tonight Show.  My Dad would have gotten a kick out of that bit, I think.



So I thought I would celebrate my Dad's birthday by writing him some thank you notes.

 


Thank you, Dad...for your sense of humor.

I remember your silly jokes - usually silly knock-knock jokes.  Nothing off color. You would deliver the punch line and then chuckle at how funny you thought it was. You also had a sense of humor about yourself.  I think I got that from you.  And I remember lots of laughter.


 

And you always wanted to be a cowboy.

 



Thank you, Dad...for your musical talent.

You played trumpet in a dance band for most of your life, but you could also play almost any instrument and transcribed all of the music for the dance band you were in.  I had a brief stint in musical comedy so whatever musical talent I have came from you and has been passed on to my daughter.



Thank you, Dad...for being so smart and imaginative.

Whenever there was a problem or a need, you came up with a solution. You were an inventor of all kinds of things. Mom said you actually invented the "sippy cup" before it came out commercially. My sister was ready to drink out of a cup but needed something between the bottle and a cup and you invented a "sippy cup" for her. Mom always lamented your business sense, that you didn't patent it.


Thank you, Dad...for your positive attitude.

You were always a positive, upbeat influence which probably explains why I have always been drawn to positive people. Whenever we were sick or down, you knew just what to say, and people would come to you for advice. You delighted in all kinds of things from hats for my Mom, lamps for the house and your big passion, big American cars.  So many things delighted you and made you happy.  You would find out about something and exclaim, "Imagine that!"



Hubby is also a positive guy which might explain our almost 31 years of marriage.


Thank you, Dad...for your thoughtfulness and generosity.

If I made an offhand remark that I wanted a particular coat or if I admired something in a store window, I would probably get it as a gift at my next birthday or at Christmas.   You were really great that way and loved to surprise people.  When I would bring my children to visit, you would have baseball cards for my son or a doll for my daughter.  And you never let us leave without giving us "a couple of bucks."




Thank you, Dad...for being a great father.


  • You were not just generous with money and gifts, you were generous with your time, attention and encouragement. 
  • You were self sacrificing, so we could have a good life. Not to mention, you always let me have the car and would even walk to work if I promised my friends I could have the car.
  • You were sensitive to our needs and wants.
  • You helped to create a stable home.
  • You encouraged your children to be what they wanted to be, to do what they needed to do. When I moved out to California right after college graduation, you gave me "a couple of bucks" and wished me well.  You didn't question it or try to stop me, despite how hard it must have been to know how far away I would be (though later you expressed admiration that I had the courage to do it). 
  • You let me go to live my life and make my own mistakes.



 
 

and Thank you, Dad...for your genes.
 
Because of you I am looking forward to a long life. 

Your Dad, who was born in 1874 (I can't believe my own grandfather was born in 1874) lived to be 98 and your mother 89, despite the fact she had diabetes all of her life and went blind in her 50's. My older sister and brother are still alive too (however, my Dad did not drink or smoke, so I might have screwed everything up with that).

And you live on, Dad, as those good genes are passed on from generation to generation. 

Here you are as a baby in 1908.

 
Here is my little grandson in 2014.
 
 
Over 100 years separate these two pictures and you died 22 years before this little grandson was born, yet you are still here.
You live on in the faces of those who came after you.
 
But you live on, too, as your gifts are passed on. You set an example for your children. Hopefully, we have your sense of humor, especially about ourselves, your talents, your smarts, your positive attitude, your thoughtfulness and generosity, your sensitivity and self sacrifice, that we too are good parents and pass it on.
  
As I think about my Dad, I can't help but think about myself as a parent now, knowing what I know. I certainly wish my Dad was still here so I could ask him some things. I wonder what he and my mother were thinking and feeling as their children went through all of the ups and downs of their lives. They were always there when I needed them but they let me live my life, warts and all.
 
I ran across this poem, not sure when, and have kept it in my office.  I ponder it from time to time, but think it's apropos to share now. I think my Dad already knew this.  I think we all need to know this.
 
 
"Children"
 
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of
life's longing for itself.
 
They come through you but not from you,
and though they are with you
yet they belong not to you.
 
You may give them your love,
but not your thoughts,
for they have their own thoughts.
 
You may house their bodies
but not their souls,
for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit
not even in your dreams.
 
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
 
For life goes not backward
nor tarries with yesterday.
 
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
 
The archer seeks the mark
upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with his might that his arrows may
go swift and far.
 
Let your bending in the
archer's hand be for gladness:
 
For even as he loves the arrow that flies,
so he loves also the bow that is stable.
 
---Kahlil Gibran
 
 
As Bob Dylan said, "Take care of your memories.  For you cannot relive them."
 
I hope you will take some time to remember a loved one and where you came from.
 
 
 
 
Thanks for Reading!

See you Friday
 
when I will be reviewing

"The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

as well as some

DVD's to see or avoid
 
and the latest on
 
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 
I Die Project."


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