My dad turns 89 years old this month. I was his youngest child and he lived a life of 45 years before I joined it. His first 45 years take on a mythic and mysterious image in my mind. I’ve heard stories and looked through black & white and sienna colored photographs. His stories these days are different from the stories he told me when he was younger. Now he speaks in more color. Years ago he answered my curious questions with short bland facts. I don’t have to press him anymore, just spend some time chatting and his stories come bubbling up to the surface. My dad’s a complicated man. His parents were Italian immigrants who settled in a tiny Pennsylvania coal-mining town with other Italian and Polish immigrants. Like me, my dad was the youngest in his large family. His father was 75 years old when my father was born. Neither of my grandparents spoke English. My father’s stories from his childhood paint a very gray sort of picture. It was the 30’s. They had very little, a family of eleven people, and they always had tenants staying with them. But even though the life he remembers seems wrought with hardships and loss; they are also full of joy, laughter, and a sense of plenty. His remembrance of the many quirky tenants, his tenacious and brutally honest Italian mother who ruled the roost following the death of my grandfather should be a movie.
My dad can build and fix anything. He loves his family, though I never can recall him saying it outright, his life and work ethic, and support speak volumes. My dad works. He’s always doing something and involved in a project. To this day he spends his days mowing his 38 acres of open fields. It looks like a golf course and it takes him all week to complete the task. He’s planning on building a pavilion for his children and grandchildren to gather for events throughout the year, he’s an out-of-this-world cook and he gardens. He tinkers in his woodworking shop and is always fixing and transitioning various automotive or mechanical devices. This all gives him a daily purpose. My father won’t sit still. My dad has always been a good man. He’s incredibly generous and has been three whenever his children – or for that matter – anyone has needed his help or advice. He has a servant’s heart. \
Happy Birthday Dad and Happy Father’s Day!…and thank you.
I’m praying for all the dads out there who struggle each day to be the best they can be. I’m also praying for the many men who reach out to Shield Bearer so that we can help them on their path to victory.