Its not a big holiday - there are no religous or historical overtones, and it was always a little embarassing for me after my son became a man but today , for some reason, without plan or deep thought, I wanted to take a minute to highlight a couple of fathers for their impact on my life.
After the war he began a career as an insurance agent, building a business and a family with my mom, enduring the loss of a child between the births of my sister and myself. And in the midst of life, he endured another blow when in 1961, he was left a widower with an 11 year old son and a 17 year old daughter. He changed careers in the late 1960's to real estate at the urging of his brother Paul, and worked at the same company for the remaining 8 years of his life, until he struggled against lung cancer to the inevitable end.
It is impossible to tell you what I learned from my dad. I don't know if I can attribute my bizarre sense of humor to him, but I'm pretty sure I can attribute my love of books and art to him since I was surrounded by both growing up. I know that I learned a lot about dealing with people and facing adversity from him and he is still the standard for me. I know that he is a presence in my life and that I still miss him even today. I know that while he was a fallible individual as we all are but to me he was a great dad - and I know that he did the best he could with what life gave him to work with.
This picture is a pretty special one to me. Its the only picture I own that shows my dad with my son. My son Hal was born on January 9, 1997. My dad George died on August 11, 1977. They had very little time together, and Hal obviously can't remember his grandfather, but my dad knew my son and loved him very much. I still remember taking Hal to the Fox Chase Cancer Center, where my father could join Hal for an impromptu "picnic" on the grass outside his room - a point of happiness in a difficult time.
And this picture is just one of my favorites. Though I miss my lovely wife, I still have my kids - Hal and Jennifer - and through them the circle of life (thanks Disney) continues - and like every Father everywhere today - they are the greatest gift anyone could ever have. I hope your gifts are just as great!