That’s my grandfather and my son, 94 and 14 years of age, respectively. Yes, that’s a delta of 80. On this Father’s Day, I’m going to have the pleasure of eating dinner with both of them. I am thankful to have that opportunity.
My pap is veteran of the Second World War. He was in the US Navy and was wounded in battle when his ship was sunk by the Japanese in the Pacific Ocean theater. Knocked unconscious and thrown in to the water, he was near death until his buddy put a life-preserver around him. My family is grateful for that heroic act, as my son would not be here because neither I nor my father would have been born. One day, my son will inherit his Purple Heart.
I’m going to celebrate my pap again today because it may be the last chance I get to do that. I treat every visit with him as though it will be my last.
The first thing I’ll do when I see him is tell him I love him. Then, I’ll give him his tomato soup and turkey sandwich from Panera, for which he specifically asked. Then I’ll ask how he’s feeling, what he’s doing at the nursing home, and how many new friends he’s made. He lost the love of his life, my gram, 7 weeks ago. They were married for 72 years.
As I reflect on my pap’s life, there’s a quality that stands out. He is likable. You just love being with him. He possesses a quiet strength. Everything he says is genuine. He does not judge you. He has a calmness about him. He’s funny. I’ve never heard him say anything mean to or about someone else. He’s there when you need him, always willing to serve. You can count on him. We need more men like him.
And boy does he take care of his stuff. He’s the best steward. He is grateful to just have what he has. He does not have a lot, but he is happy with what he has. He doesn’t envy or covet. He worked hard as a welder for nearly 40 years, made a good living and raised a blessed family. He has been a great role-model.
My pap’s likability is a function of his constant state of being happy. He believes happiness is a choice. Happiness has nothing to do with your circumstances. It has everything to do with your attitude. He once told me, “If you’re not happy living on what you’re living on right now, I can guarantee you that you’re not going to be happy with any more because you’re always going to want a little bit more.” Well said pap.
When I leave my pap today after we break bread together, I’ll tell him how much I love him one more time, give him a kiss on the cheek and thank him for just being him. My pap, happy and likable.
Happy Father’s Day.