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My Wonderful Father Died 12 Years Ago Today

Monday, November 11, 2013

I miss him every day. He was the wisest, kindest man in the world, and he loved me without reservation. My mother was the critical one, my father was the accepting one. He was firm about certain things, though, like frugality, perseverance, kindness. He taught me about caring about the natural environment long before that was a social concern. We used to go for long walks in the woods and he made me learn birds by sight and song, and to identify trees by bark and leaf. He taught me about the constellations, how to read the night sky. He was a chemist, having put himself through three degrees. Every night after dinner he'd start writing equations on napkins, teaching us what he loved, and it all made sense. He could say in 10 words what others took pages to say. He passed on the wisdom of his father and grandfather, and the words they had learned from their grandparents. He had a hard life. He was stricken with polio when he was 3, and he could never use his withered left arm. That was back in the day when employers didn't have to deal with "cripples", but DuPont was happy to hire him, and he spent 35 years with the company, years he enjoyed immensely. We take that kind of opportunity for granted today, but he was grateful and taught me gratitude.

I am grateful every day that he was my father. I remember his words every day in one context or another, and have passed them on to my children and their children.

And oh how I miss him!!
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