Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day, a day where families across the US are celebrating with cook-outs, watching the NBA finals, or just relaxing. These days, unfortunately, I only get to reminisce about the fantastic father I had. He was an extremely intelligent, well-educated, well-spoken man who was a loving father and husband. Although he was a nuclear physicist, he knew classical music very well, and he loved geography and history. He survived multiple harrowing experiences in WWII but then had tremendous opportunities after the war. He spent time in the Sahara Desert doing research, as well as two trips to the North Pole. After meeting my mother, he did work at several particle accelerators both in Europe and the US.

But on Father's Day, and nearly every other day, I remember him as a caring father who, despite being the traditional man who ruled the roost, encouraged his three daughters to become anything they wanted to, there were no limits for what we could do. It's kind of funny, but he preferred my mother not to work but to pursue the old-fashioned role of a mother, a la June Cleaver, but for his daughters, he was different! He taught us how to chop wood, change tires, mow the lawn, etc... All of us loved to help him in his woodshop when he was building furniture for our family.

English was not his first language, and he always struggled with idioms, a problem that he passed on to me. He loved to discuss one of his favorite books, Nothing Doing on the West Side, aka All Quiet on the Western Front. He also bragged about having quit smoking "dead duck." We were always amused by his sayings, although, as I mentioned, I learned well from him and can't get an idiom straight myself. He kept his charming accent throughout his life, along with his ability to speak multiple languages.

Today, I celebrate what he passed on to me, a love of nature and the outdoors, a love of music and literature, and a strong will (which when I was a teenager he called pigheadedness!). Even though he died nearly six years ago, I think of him nearly every day, and I will always miss him. He was a wonderful role model, and I wish I could have shared him with more kids!

No comments: