For me to properly write a summary of my fathers life and adventures, it would take years. I would instead like to write just a few little things about him.
This coming January my father will be turning 80 years young. You would never know it if you met him, he is a very young 79. He goes to the gym, shoots hoops with his personal trainer, tends to a massive vegetable garden, raises chickens, is learning to paint, and dabbles in music. Tonight he will be performing with his music teacher in Byfield Ma.
If you were to ask him about assisted living, or condo communities for retirees, his response would be "It's all OLD people!". Unlike most his age, he chooses to live his life fully and continue to learn new things. He has led a pretty impressive life. One of 8 children, he grew up in a large family with 6 older sisters and one younger brother. His parents taught him about honesty, accountability, and fairness (my grandfather was rumored to have had all 8 children memorize The Optimist Creed). When he was too small to be invited to play baseball as a boy, instead of feeling sorry for himself, he and his siblings built a baseball field of their own and invited neighborhood kids to join them in games. They only had a few rules, anyone who wanted to play could play, and no swearing (or as he would say "cussing") or bullying allowed.
His father was the owner of a successful bricklaying company, and it was expected that he would follow in his footsteps. Dad had other goals for himself. He was a very bookish kid, extremely smart, and a daydreamer. After he attended College he wanted to go to graduate school to get his PHD. His father wasn't so convinced, but after pleading his case he went on to attend Harvard University, taught at Wesleyan, Harvard, and BC and later became a respected and prominent Economist (he would correct my facts if he read this, so I won't quote too many). While stationed in Newfoundland with the Air Force, he met our mother (who was stationed there from England a a nurse) and married her, had five children, and 50+ years later they are still together. Theirs is a true love story (she moved to the U.S. leaving her family behind).
There are so many gifts he has given me through the years, his love of gardening, The Boston Celtics, his love for jazz, hiking, American history, and a very mischievous sense of humor (no lack of teasing in our house growing up). He has faced and overcome many tough obstacles throughout his life (which I won't get in to), and still remains an optimist. I'm proud to have been blessed with a dad like him, and tonight I will go and listen to him sing, and be grateful for the moment.