Friday, September 17, 2010

remembering my dad ...

thank you, alison ... for sharing a great meal and heartfelt conversation this past friday. as promised ...
[it has been 8+ years ... from april 23, 2002 eulogy]

Thank you all for coming to share this moment with my family, with our extended family, and with our friends. Many of you have had the chance to know my Mom (Lucy), my younger brother (Patrick), me, and my Dad - while others may have had a chance to get to know only one of us.

But I do believe that by knowing any of the four of us, you all have - in one way or another - had a chance to get to know my Dad ... either through direct interaction with him, through the stories we related to one another about him, or through the personality traits and values that Mom, Pat, and I hold true.

And because this is a time to remember my Dad, I'm sure many of you have memories about Dad that you, too, can relate. So I hope to share with you my story in a way that, at the end of the day, we can all speak about my Dad and celebrate our special memories of him with each other.

So I'll start by sharing my story ... (and I should let you all know that I actually practiced this 2 times, so I hope to get through this - and I believe that the 3rd time is a charm, so here I go) ...

Several of my friends have often said to me, "Your folks are cool!!!" or "Your Dad is a cool dude!" I'd look at them oddly and politely say, "Uh ... cool Dad?! Yeah? I guess Dad's cool." And then I'd also say "Thanks."

So now, I've thought to myself about this ... I guess he's cool ... I mean - he has those "Dad" traits!
. He patiently shops with my Mom at the mall.
. He's nearly 2-1/2 hours early at the airport gate for any airline departure.
. He does the "Jumble Word" puzzle in the newspaper and calls me to let me know he solved the puzzle in record time.
. He listens to Talk Radio, and we debate about the politics of the nation and the world.
. He finds three pennies on one of his daily morning walks and adds it to his grandkids' coin jars.
. Even when he leaves the room from chitchat or a longer-winded story, sometimes his after-shave lingers just a little longer.
. He always reminds me to check my car tires, oil and gasoline for even the shortest of travels.
. He plays golf and has quite the collection of golf shirts and golf balls.
. He politely smiles when I tell him the virtues of a caffe latté, while he proudly drinks Folger's.
. He goes to Church and supports the Parish.

Dad is Dad -
. He has learned that shopping can be fun with Mom.
. He is very punctual.
. He has a way with words and keeps his mind active.
. He has a conservative bent to his politics.
. He loves his grandchildren.
. He leaves an impression on people, even if it's his chitchat and after-shave.
. He is concerned for his child's safety.
. He likes to spend time on the golf course.
. He has the patience to let me be a foo-foo coffee drinker.
. And he is a religious man.
Dad is Dad - and I guess he is cool ...?

Then I thought about this a little more. I don't have to justify what makes my Dad a cool Dad. It has been staring me in the face all my life.

I don't have to tell a long story to hopefully inspire you all to share your memories about my Dad.

And at the end of the day, the short version of my story that I want to relate to you is that my Dad is a totally cool person. Whether he got the first boarding pass at the airport gate or knows the history of American politics and current events from the perspective of a proud American - more than I have ever comprehended, Dad is cool because he is a thoughtful person, a proud and loving man, and most importantly, though he has left us in this world and asks us to accept that he is with God - he is totally cool because he has left us with wonderful memories that have shaped, affected, and touched our lives -

And at the end of the day, we can all speak about my Dad and celebrate our special memories of him with each other.

On behalf of my family, I thank all of you who have joined us today, and many who could not join us but have sent their warm wishes and sympathies to my family.

Dad, I love you - and
. I'll go shopping with Mom, but I probably won't buy as many shoes as she has.
. I'll try to be on time.
. I'll have to practice the Jumble Word puzzle.
. Talk Radio will never be the same.
. I'll take care of Mom, Pat, Olga, and the grand kids, and I'll collect coins.
. I'll smile when I smell your after-shave.
. I'll always have more than a 1/4-tank of gas- and maybe I'll shoot for 1/2-tank.
. I'll learn to play golf.
. I'll learn to appreciate "normal" coffee.

And most importantly ...
I'll thank God every day that you lived 71 years fulfilled, and I got to share 38 of those years with you.
At the end of this day and every day, I hope you all have a special memory of my Dad and can say, "That Orlando, he's totally a cool dude."

Thank you and God Bless.
[for my Dad, whom I miss dearly ...
Dec 14, 1930 - April 17, 2002]

1 comment:

  1. He sounds like a very "cool dude." I hope he and my Dad have found each other somewhere in that vast afterlife. I'm sure they would be best buddies.

    Thank you for sharing some of the many things that made your Dad special and unique... and for keeping alive the memories and the love that he left with you.

    ReplyDelete

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