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Remembering Dad

Remembering Dad on His Birthday

On October 27th, my Dad would have been 80 years old. Dad is celebrating his birthday in
Heaven this year. I thought it would be good for me to share a couple of stories about him,
which none of you have heard before. Something to remember him by, and perhaps to honor my Dad on his special day.

A few years ago, I was talking with Dad on the telephone. A friend of his since childhood,
had recently passed away. Dad was telling a story, in his unique way. It’s one that I
will not forget. Dad told me that the friend had been in the service in World War II. Upon his return from the War, the friend arrived by train to Pittsfield. From there, he could have gotten a ride to his home in Lanesboro. But he chose to walk the ten miles back to his home. Dad told me that his friend walked the whole way, taking in the familiar sights, and thinking about how lucky he was to be able to walk the long distance to home. He was coming back to his family, and the place that he loved. When he reached home, he knelt and kissed the ground.

As Dad told me the story, his voice broke. He said to me “I’m sorry, Cin. I don’t know why I’m crying.”

“That’s okay, Dad. I know,” I replied.
 
You see, my Dad loved his family, and he loved his homeland. He understood what his friend had felt that day, and it touched him in a way that few can truly comprehend. Some of us are lucky to have family that we love. And to have a place in our lives that is “home.” My Dad realized that he was one of the lucky ones. I think he told me that story so that I too, would understand that no matter how hard life gets, our family and our homeland are what matters most.
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When I was away at college, my Mom used to write to me almost every day. After her passing, my Dad took over. He would write to me about the family. Good news about my nieces and nephews, of whom he was so proud. Sometimes he just wrote a quick note to tell me that he was keeping up with the budget and the list of household chores that I had left for him to maintain.

No matter what he wrote about, Dad signed his letters to me the same way.
Being the artist that he was, Dad would draw two pictures. One was of a cradle. The other,
of a grave. And in between the pictures, he wrote “I will love you”. He wanted me to know that he loved me “from the cradle to the grave.” And next to his signature, he signed the letters with XX’s and OO’s.

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Today I write of the sentimental part of Dad. Along with all of the laughs he gave, the arguments he and I sometimes endured, the trials we faced….Dad did have a soft side. He was trained as a boy not to show it, but every once in a while, it came out of him.

The last time I talked with Dad was on Christmas Eve. He was weak, and was struggling to maintain a conversation with me. Yet even then, he showed his concern for the family. He asked me about my cousin Tom, whose house had just been destroyed by fire. He wanted to know if Tommy was okay. I assured Dad that my cousin was all right. Dad didn’t say anything, he simply nodded his head.

Today, as I remember Dad on his birthday, I hope that you too will take some time out of your day to do the same. A minute or two to reflect on the man who loved his family, and his homeland.

For those in Berkshire county, you will see a remembrance in the Berkshire Eagle. I think that Dad would be proud to have his name in the paper again, and to know that the family he loved so dearly, also loved him.

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