A Letter to My Father

I ran across this from nearly ten years ago. Since it’s Father’s Day today, I thought that I’d run this again since I still feel the same way.

Dear Dad,

A month ago today, when last we spoke, we exchanged handshakes and snappy salutes. I noticed again that afternoon, as I always do, your silver U.S. Army Infantry ring, worn and smooth from the decades of wear, never imagining the next time I saw it, it would be surrendering it to accompany you in your urn.

Supporting Mom during those first days after our last salute kept me busy. Just as our family always has, we took care of business first. Mom and I went through your briefcase and pulled out the important legal documents and tried to figure out which bills would be coming due and when. Don’t worry, though – all of us got Mom squared away so that she’d continue to have income without interruption. Really, you saw to all of that through your prior planning and dedication. For me, it was just phone calls to the Army and the Railroad Retirement Board. No sweat. Gotcha covered.

The hardest thing I had to do – ever – was to leave you behind in that beautiful place you chose for you and Mom down in Dayton. I was fine through it all up until I had to leave. I rode out with the family to the entrance, saw them off, and got back in your car (which I’d been using, and yes, I filled up the tank when I was done) and went back up to see you again. I walked up, perfectly composed and stood near the temporary marker. Yeah, it was cliché, but I came to the position of attention and saluted you one more time and started walking back to the car for the two hour trip back home.

Yeah, I lost it then. Pretty badly, too. I sat in the car for a time and struggled with the understanding that I had to leave and the anguish of leaving you behind. But what’s done is done, I suppose. I finally put the car in gear, took one last trip around the grounds and headed home in silence, except for the few phone calls I made to let people know that it was done.

I’m lucky that we got to talk in the hospital, albeit briefly, and even luckier that at various points in my life, I’ve stopped to tell you that you’d raised all three of us right. That I was proud of you. And I admired you. All three of we offspring feel that way, you know. Just sayin’.

You’d be horrified to know that I’ve been posting photos of you throughout your life on the Internet. Yeah, that computer thing you keep hearing about that you wanted no part of. So yeah, you’re getting your dose of the internet now in spite of your revulsion for computers and technology.

I’m doing it anyway because I’m still proud of you.

Even with all the accomplishments I’ve enjoyed, the one thing I will never be is as good of a man – as good of a person as you were. You wrote the book on leading by example, not by intimidation. Cooperation, not confrontation. Thanks. I ‘preciate that. Your sterling example has served me well over the years, even though I know I still fall way short.

I have been telling people for years that when I look in the mirror or hear your words escaping my mouth unexpectedly, that I’m turning into my father.

Just so you know, I’m perfectly OK with that.

Miss you,

Dan

Here’s a quick shout-out to Andy, Jon, Garrett, and Nate – four of the best kids ever. I miss you all, gentlemen.

A Facebook Rerun

I posted this in late May on Facebook. I’m reposting it here so that if Facebook loses it I can find it here. Last monday, I got to spend time with Nate and Garrett after a two-week absence. Knowing that I would be leaving again a few days after, I created a poster for them. When I got to the house in Ohio, I sat everyone down and presented these to the boys to post in their rooms, should they … Continue reading

“Road” Trip to Mars!

Back in September of last year, I stumbled across a NASA website describing the new Mars Lander scheduled for launch July 20 at 6:15 a.m. PDT (9:15 a.m. EDT).  NASA offered the chance to send your name aboard the Mars Perseverance Rover etched into a chip placed on the rover.  I thought this was a terrific idea for the family, so I registered the four of us and, lo and behold, we four were among the 1.2 million names that … Continue reading

Ten Better Ways to Discriminate

It’s pretty clear lately that the only way we Americans like to classify people is solely by their politics.  If you pay attention, pretty much ANY behavior from eating pineapple on your pizza to being a proud pedophile all traces back to whether you’re a republican or a democrat.  There are no in-betweens – you’re either all one or all the other.  You can’t be a centrist, a moderate republican or even apolitical.  Sorry, but that just won’t do for … Continue reading

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On The Eighteenth Anniversary of 9/11

I almost didn’t re-post this. Nearly every year, I have. It always refreshes my memory far too realistically and emotionally.  Just now, I re-read it and I realized that’s the whole reason I re-post this in the first place — so that I don’t forget how I felt that day.  So at the risk of being repetitive, here it is.  — Dan I wrote this back in 2009 in response to all the “Where were you when 9/11 happened?” questions … Continue reading

The Battle of the Star Trek Geniuses II – the Wrath of the Guest Stars!

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Just #!&^ing Stop

So as many of you know from my non-stop and regularly scheduled gloating, I’m retired.  I’m now allowed by statute to yell “Get off my lawn!” to people who get on my lawn.  I’ve not yet gotten to the point of calling anyone younger than 60 a young whippersnapper, a term which I never really understood, but I’m reading a book on my Kindle about how to be an effective curmudgeon.  I’ll get there.  Give me a minute or two, … Continue reading