I spend a good part of my week reading and writing about law, medicine and related topics. Then today came along and as I watched the Tweets fly-by wishing the world a Happy Father’s Day (which I just learned is in September in some parts of the world like Australia), I thought to myself, why not use this medium to tell some other people about the dad who raised me, my brother and sister – and the center of my universe.
He was a quiet, simple man of principle. Strong, religious, caring, loving in his own quiet but definite way. He was born and raised in Brooklyn in 1911 – a die-hard Brooklyn Dodgers fan until Da Bums had the nerve to move to California. He then would open his Rheingold beer and follow with whatever passion he could muster his new baseball love – the Marvelous Mets.
When people came to visit, it was my father who made sure they were welcomed guests in our home. Harry – the name he went by but not the one on his birth certificate – was the rock for all the wayward family souls needing strength, guidance or just a kindly smile.
He made the big trip in those days across the Hudson River and dated a girl from New Jersey (or “Jersey” as those of us on Exit 15W of the Turnpike refer to it). A lovely and loving young girl, who was not permitted to finish high school – because in those days education was a waste of time for girls. They married, had three kids and settled down in Jersey for the rest of their days. She was the center of his universe and the eternal love of his life.
What was my childhood like? The best…simple in all respects. A toy or two at Christmas – the best Christmases anyone could want. Baseball season (he loved baseball) - A glance from me, his son, into the stands during Little League and Babe Ruth baseball season – there he was. Not screaming at the umpire but omnipresent with an encouraging smile for his son.
Summer vacations – in a little hunter’s cabin in the middle of nowhere on the Delaware River in New York. Again – simple, fun and filled with love. Memories that will never fade.
He didn’t have to raise his voice when his kids were just being dumb kids. His “look” said whatever needed to be said. After a full day of work in New York and taking the DeCamp bus back and forth to Gotham City – there he was, at the kitchen table helping with homework or some goofy project we thought was the most important venture man or God could imagine. He made it seem that way too.
Having come from New York, he wasn’t the most patient driver the Lord ever placed behind a wheel. But rather than a string of curse words (I never in my entire life heard him curse), I would hear his famous – “Ya Bum, ya” when someone might cut him off on Route 3 leading into the City. Pass a church? – the tip of his hat was never, ever missed. No big show of religion, just a simple, quiet sign of respect that was not lost of me – ever!
When we lost my Dad in 1992 – a deep, dark hole in my life was created. It can never be filled. The quiet man of grace, humor, love and unending principle has been sorely missed these many years.
I’m glad I thought about writing this today. (My only regret is that I didn’t think about doing this last month for the sweet angel of my life – my Mom. Next year I will NOT forget).
If even one other person reads this – then my task is accomplished – one other person will know just a little bit about the man I loved and always will. Let’s tip our hats together and to all dads – but especially to mine – HAPPY FATHER’s DAY.
Tags: Father's Day