Don't Forget to be Happy
Monday, June 27, 2011
I just responded to a post on one of my teams. The team leader was asking what we did to stay positive. I liked my answer well enough to share it as a blog.
My Dad is my role model for a positive attitude.
He was born in 1913.
He remembers the great flu epidemic of 1918. The whole family got sick, but they all survived.
His older brother drowned in the Mississippi River when my Dad was about 16. Because the family was poor, my Dad had to drop out of high school after the tragedy and go to work. He was happy to be strong and healthy and able to find work.
He survived the Great Depression. He worked for a while in a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp in northern Minnesota. He says he enjoyed it. They fed him well and he earned money to send home to his mother and younger siblings.
He survived World War II. He was in the Signal Corps, and he says that kept him alive. The radio boys weren't the first ones ashore in the South Pacific, so fewer of them got shot. He was proud of being a soldier, and he met my Mom in New Zealand during the war, so he is always positive about his war experience.
He did factory work, supported my mother and 4 kids. My mother went through college with my Dad's support, and he was immensely proud of her. He taught me that I could accomplish anything with hard work and education.
After retiring from his factory job, my Dad worked another 10 years as a cook at a church operated day care center. He loved cooking, and loved the little kids.
My Dad is 97 now. He forgets what day it is, but remembers his long life with happiness. He enjoys the VA home he's in. He says they feed him well, and the bed is soft, what more could he want.
Any time I get discouraged I think of my Dad, and all that he was able to overcome and accomplish and survive. I'm going to keep working hard, and stay happy.
Billy Collins wrote a wonderful poem about forgetfulness that I'm going to share today. It makes me think of my Dad, too.
The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.
Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses good-bye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,
something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.
Whatever it is you are struggling to remember
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of you spleen.
It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.
No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.