Every Sunday for as long as I can remember my phone rang after 10am. Dad would call for a weekly check in. Sometimes I called him. Sometimes we would miss a week. Sometimes I couldn’t wait for Sunday and would call him inside a week. We always checked in.
I’ll never forget the call on Sunday, December 14, 2008. It was too early, around 9-ish. It wasn’t Dad. It was Vaughna, his wife. I wouldn’t be speaking to Dad again. She needn’t tell me.
Dad passed earlier that morning. He had fallen, had some kind of a spell, something abnormal had happened… The paramedics couldn’t revive him when they arrived. That was that.
Oddly enough the family was already awake. They knew as I heard the news through the phone receiver that something bad had happened. They weren’t quite sure how to react.
We did what people do when that kind of news arrives: We hugged, cried, tried to ask “why”… I tried to be strong but went to Hale’s bedroom to be alone. After 30 or so minutes I left her room to plan the trip to New Jersey to be with Vaughna minus my family. I wasn’t sure what to expect either.
Today marks the 4th year of his passing. There is not a day that goes by that something doesn’t trigger a memory; a piece of music, a food smell, a word of encouragement. He used to say to me as a kid when I was doing something, “lookin’ good kid!” That essentially meant I was doing ok, I had his approval – keep plowing ahead.
We’ve had a long year in 2012. Heck we’ve had a long four years but I feel excited about the future. No one can predict what tomorrow may bring. It is what we make of it in our way.
In remembrance of Dad I offer a few photos today and I’ve started a Flickr photo set as well. If you have a few good photos you want to contribute, please don’t hesitate to share. I’m just getting around to scanning what I have.
At home on leave from the Navy, Dad is pictured here with is car. He gave the car to his Mother and taught her how to drive. Dad was 22 pictured here. Grandmother learned to drive at age 45.
I have dozens of 2×3 black and whites from Dad’s Navy days in the mid-50’s. This is one gem from Dad’s scrap book. Dad’s love for microbiology started in the Navy. He used his GI Bill to eventually earn a PhD from Tulane.
Speaking of going to school, here Dad and Grandmother review an art exhibit at the University of New Hampshire on his graduation day. The pic made the local paper, a fun conversation item still today decades later with the family.
Jumping ahead a few decades, this shot offers a stark contrast to the 1950’s. Taken at the zoo in New Orleans in 1980, Dad looks the part of a scientist with the beard. He wore a beard from here to the rest of his days – I have very few memories without him having one.
Finally a picture with Dad as a Grandfather or “Pop-Pop” as the kids called him. I was never certain he liked being called that but he loved the kids. Hale was one year old here in 1998.
So there you have it, a few choice photos for December 14. If you knew Dad, raise a pint today in his honor. If not, give your Dad a ring and raise a pint anyway. It’s funny how those Sunday’s come and go before becoming precious.
Till next time…