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Remembering Dad

June 21, 2015

Happy Father’s Day…

My own dad was born in 1918, and died nine years ago. I still miss him, and always will. He was the kind of man who made you believe the romance book heroes, proof that men like that can be found – honorable, compassionate, intelligent, gentle, courteous and a man who always put his family first.

He was a teacher, who loved nothing more than seeing a bright young mind catch on to a new idea. He was a researcher with a huge respect for evidence and science and good decision making. He was a gardener, who made roses grow wild and fragrant, and brought them to my mother.

Despite having been born almost a century ago, he was one of the most open-minded men I’ve met. He judged people only on the content of their characters, never on superficialities. He spoke up against prejudice and bigotry and oppression, of all kinds.

He never raised a hand to us kids, but we wanted desperately to meet his standards. We’d almost rather have been smacked than know that we had disappointed him. But he also understood our human failings and gave us the chance to try again. He was soft-spoken, and encouragement came more easily to him than criticism.

I heard him swear once, in all my life. When we were out on a lake in a little sailing dinghy, and it sprang a leak and sank, he said, “Damn.” Once. Quietly.

He was a great dad, and a beloved grandfather. We were all blessed to have known him.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, those still with us and those gone ahead… and most of all those who are fathers in spirit to other men’s children, the step-dads and uncles and Big Brothers and mentors, to the neighbours and teachers and everyone who takes that place in a child’s life, and gives them time and attention and love.

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