Every time Father’s day rolls around, I never think of myself as a father but rather always think about my own dad. He passed away almost 17 years ago but I can still hear him when I’m talking to my kids and see him in the mirror as I shave. A few years back I decided to grow a mustache an idea quickly voted down by my family as “creepy”. My Dad’s mustache, obviously grown after the picture above, I believe he grew it originally to hide the scar that ran across his cheek, a souvenir from WW II.
He worked what seemed to me to be all the time. I remember when the food stores he worked for, A&P, changed their hours and days of operation to meet the competition on Long Island. I can remember closing the store with him at night, being at his store early and receiving bread deliveries that to this very day I can smell the fresh bread and feel the warmth from the packaging. When the A&P decided to extend its operating hours and amount of days open, my dad’s presence in my daily life became almost non-existent. When I was up he was at work, weekdays and weekends.
I can remember many times him coming to my rescue in his Rambler station wagon as I trudged the streets of Mineola in the winter in the snow delivering the daily newspaper. I’d pickup my papers every afternoon after school and despite the weather, we’d be out delivering the LI Press in rain, snow, sleet or hail. Most of the main streets had been plowed and as a young teenager I was pretty good navigating my bike despite the giant basket filled with newspapers over the front fender on those icy roads, but the unplowed side streets were an issue. My dad would often show up and we’d toss the bike in the open back of the station wagon along with the papers and he’d drive slowly with all the windows down and snow blowing into his car along the street while I’d run up to each door and place the paper inside the screen doors: there were no plastic bags for newspapers nor sidewalk boxes back then.
He was a good man an honest man. He served his country, was wounded several times, and worked for more than 40 years in an organization that he believed would take care of him and his family because of his loyal service. It does not matter what the company did what’s more important is his belief in what they should do. How people should behave toward each other. If you borrow something return it cleaner, better than when you received it — everything in its place. I believe that my values, this moral code that I live by, has been formed by my father by his actions and deeds.
So on this Father’s Day, a day that I rarely had the chance to spend with my father because I was stationed in another state or country, my wish especially for the new fathers out there like my son-in-law Shane my nephew Ryan, is that it’s a good time to look back on the examples set many years ago by hardworking men and women. Pride in work, devotion to family, always always set the example. The concept of selflessness, remember you eat last – you serve everyone before yourself, and that in the end no matter what decision has been made you are responsible for that decision. You have a leadership responsibility; accept that role and lead your family to greater things giving your children a better opportunity at life than you had and in doing so you will have succeeded in becoming a good dad maybe even a great one.
Happy Father’s Day Dad!