Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Dad's Birthday

My Father was born December 9, 1903, one hundred years ago today. He died in 1975 and I still marvel at all the things he witnessed in his lifetime. He lived through two world wars and worked as a teller in a Chicago bank during the stock market crash of 1929. The Wright Brothers flew for the first time when Dad was barely a week old, and Americans walked on the moon six years before his death. Advancements in transportation, medicine, and technology during the twentieth century of progress are mind-boggling, and Dad lived through much of it.

He was a good father despite the fact that he was nearly 47 years old when I was born and 49 at the birth of my sister. He was 15 years older than my mother, his second wife. His first wife died of cancer in 1947, leaving him and my older brother to fend for themselves.

Dad was a Methodist, and my Mother a Catholic. They didn't discuss religion much in front of us, but occasionally Dad would let slip a little comment revealing his befuddlement with Catholic teaching. Mom's nephew was a young Catholic priest who my father would engage in very interesting theological discussion during his occasional visits. As a youngster, I didn't always understand what they were talking about, but I remember being mesmerized listening to them.

Dad remained a Protestant throughout his life. I often wonder if I could have brought him home to the Catholic Church if I knew then what I know now. No doubt such discussions would have been uncomfortable for both of us. Certain topics are much easier left untouched.

I miss him much and still awaken to very realistic dreams of him being here in the present. Perhaps he is. Happy Birthday Dad!

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