Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dad

Charles at home, October, 1977.My father was born 103 years ago today.

He died in 1997 at the age of 87 and I think of him and miss him every day.

I like to think my career in journalism made him proud. He was an independent insurance agent but confided that he really wanted to be a newspaperman.

Interestingly, I had dreams of being a musician, so my two sons made that their destiny.

This photo was taken in October, 1977, when Dad was the same age I am now. I like to think I look younger, but my perception is highly subjective. I can look at photos of my parents in their 20s and 30s and, because they were 30+ years older than I, see their rallyhatphotographic image as being older than I am.

Dad loved his family, dogs, the Chicago White Sox, and golf. He lived all of his life in Carroll County, Indiana, with the exception of a couple of winters in the 1980s when he and Mom tried being snowbirds in Leesburg, Fla. where his brother John had retired.

He quit smoking in his 60s after the removal of a cancerous node on one of his vocal cords reduced his voice to a whisper. He liked a beer now and then, but I never saw him drunk. And he swore sparingly. Never heard him say the “f” word.

He always rooted for the underdog. His father was a Democrat in the days of William Jennings Bryan and Dad saw the Democrats as champions of the poor. His favorite president was Harry S. Truman. He would not recognize his party today. Neither would Harry.

I never appreciated how luck I was to be able to pick up the phone and call him when he was still alive. I wish I had his number today.

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