From as far back as I can remember, my mother and I always drove ourselves into a frenzy trying to figure out what to get for him and how to celebrate. He was hard to buy for — not because he was picky — because he never wanted anything. He always said he had everything he needed. Same thing with parties. He liked to keep things low key. Except when the shoe was on the other foot and he was doing something for others — and then nothing was too good or too much trouble. He threw himself into the task with absolute zeal.
That was my dad. Kind, sensitive to the needs of others, caring and generous to a fault. He embodied all the values that are in such short supply these days. He was honourable and dignified and he could have been the poster boy for honesty, decency and integrity. His word really was his bond. When he said he would do something or be somewhere he was. Period.
He was there for everyone, always. With a kind word, a hug, thoughtful advice, help, a shoulder to cry on, whatever you needed. Didn’t matter if it was close family, friends, friends of friends or employees.
Sometimes I think about what he’d make of the world as we now know it. The ugliness, the rancour, the dishonesty, greed and selfishness. He’d be talking to himself, of that I am sure — walking around in a constant state of disbelief and disgust. He’d have a hard time coming to grips with it because he saw the good in people and he’d be disappointed.
My father wasn’t vocal with his feelings. So he wouldn’t be the one out there with a megaphone, protesting. My mother was the outspoken one. She was the one with the activist tendencies. If my dad was still here he’d do exactly what he always did, what I remember him doing my whole life — lead by example.
Happy birthday to the best dad and one of the best men, one of the best human beings, I’ve ever known and will probably ever know. Wish you were here.