One of my earliest memories of my father is hearing him sing and play Edelweiss (from Sound of Music) on guitar. Such a sweet, soulful song. I know I was awfully young to be sensing soulfulness but there it was. As a family, we’ve done a lot of singing together. When we lived in Japan (circa 1965), mom and dad and their friends would sing often at get-togethers. Some of the wives even formed a singing group called, “The Whymsingers.” And throughout our lives, there was always music. When camping, everyone would get out their guitars, ukuleles, etc. and we’d sing. It was the best time ever. This tradition continues, as the children and grandchildren grow up and learn to love music and lead their own songs at campsites.
I remember my dad teaching me to skip rocks. I remember watching his example of great respect toward our mother. And I recall getting old enough to start asking him questions that really meant something. He always gave the best answers. Still does.
There are so many memories to share. Like the way that he feeds the stray cats that show up in winter until mom finally says, “If I get home today and that cat is still here, we’re keeping it.” Or asking him for a favor and having him say, “Maybe,” which really always means yes. And hearing him tell stories of when he was a kid in Minnesota. Oh I get such a kick out of those stories.
Watching old war movies with my dad was always one of my favorite things to do. He would explain to me as we watched and I’d have to say that it is from him that I learned more about military history than I have anywhere else.
It’s been hard for us girls (four daughters) to find men who can live up to the standard our dad has set. When I was young, I honestly thought all men were like my father. I mean, why wouldn’t they be? Wow. What a shock to find that there are very few truly good men out there. And what a thrill when we find them.
My dad is a quiet man. He’s very tolerant of the foibles found in others. He loves his family ferociously. He does not back down on that under any circumstances. He leads by example, which is a cliché that is often used but not so often really true. He has taught me how to love unconditionally and to never despair. That there is nothing too hard that can’t be overcome. That the mind is a great thing and is really where the battle is fought.
Thanks, Dad. I love you so much.