Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

lunes, marzo 09, 2009

Happy 90th Birthday!!!

Here's my dad. He was born on March 10, 1919, and tomorrow is his 90th birthday. This is a remarkable milestone. In writing about my Dad, I feel that I'm sifting a huge pile of diamonds and what I choose to include in my stories about him turns these stories through their being chosen while others are rejected, into a kind of fiction rather than historical fact. So be it. If it was good enough for Paul Bunyan, it's good enough for me.

My dad's mom, my grandmother, lived to be 96; his father, only 52. He's had a remarkable life of achievements. He's been a teacher, a school principal, an assistant superintendent, a writer, a musician, a composer, a tool and die maker, a father of 2, a loving husband of 61 years, a soldier, a maker of incredible fishing poles, a fisherman, a traveler, a philosopher, a gentleman, a Mensch. The more I add to the list, the more categories arise.

If I spent a minute describing each year of his life, it would take 90 minutes to complete the story. If I spent a second, it would take a minute and a half. That would reduce World War 2 to 4 seconds, and his marriage with my Mom would take just over a minute. But that approach would miss the depth of some of the epic stories: his being the first in his family to go to College, his masters degree, his doctorate; the depression, staying a step ahead of eviction, staying back in 7th grade, his father's working as a milk man, a tailor, in the shipyard; his time with the 76th Infantry Division in Germany; his courtship of my mom (a favorite story of his retold at his birthday party this past Saturday); a life of hard work, saving and investing; his still evolving politics; the family dinners in which it was continually emphasized that it was important to be of help to others, to be compassionate. But that's just the beginning.

That approach misses the ideas he has, his ideals. It misses his wonderful sense of humor, his patience, his ability to explain things, how easy going he is. It also misses his stories, his questions, his thinking, his concerns, his worries, his wishes for peace and prosperity and fairness. It misses his love of music and film and books. It misses his love of Halvah.

On Saturday the family gathered from far and wide to have a birthday meal and to toast my dad on his 90th birthday. His many friends from the Residence came, and so did his grandchildren. We all wished him a Happy 90th Birthday. He invited us to come to his 100th.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

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