Every day, I encounter a new challenge to the idea that things can and should be open and real.

Be it social, political, or personal, serious or trivial -- every time, I ponder the implications.

I hope you'll join me in the conversation!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The 80th Anniversary of the Birth of the Father

A few years ago, an associate of mine took off work to go hiking into the woods on the 100th anniversary of his father’s birth. He said since his father had passed away, he had taken to spending each birthday thereafter by himself in a peaceful, meditative environment, thinking about his dad and his dad’s life.

I was touched by this simple act of honoring a parent. I also was moved by the sincerity of the gesture, and of the completely un-modern spiritual commune with the memory of someone so important. I think most of us tend to take our parents for granted; even when we love them and talk to them often, do we really appreciate them as people, as individuals who had lives long before we were born and who – though they may make us think otherwise – often have lives long after we are born that are separate and apart from their identities as parents?

June 24 is my father’s 80th birthday. I am so blessed to say he is still living here on Earth, interacting with me and my family on a daily basis, enriching and encouraging us constantly. I cannot begin to imagine my life without him. The beautiful thing is I’m not sure I ever will have life without him. He is such a part of who I am, and because of his positive influence, such a part of so many people and institutions. I see him being a father figure to people who are not biologically his children, and offering opportunity to those who will never even meet him through his support of his beloved alma mater. One of his signature phrases is, “Never resist a generous impulse.”

Thank you, Dad, for always being yourself. You are a wonderful person, a stalwart friend, a judicious mentor, a loving husband and a patient father and grandfather. I love you for all that you are, and will always look forward to celebrating the anniversary of your birth. The world is a better place for you coming here, and I love you.


Anonymous said...

Tom is indeed one of the kindest, most intelligent, most generous, and warmest men I have ever met. Despite these qualities, or maybe because he truly possesses them, he somehow manages to remain humble. I am indebted to him for helping to create and nurture my beautiful wife and for accepting me, without qualification, into his family. Tom enriches all who know him. Happy Birthday, Tom.



Connie said...

And today is my father's 71st - I think we're on the same wavelength.

Good dads are a blessing.


Jamie said...

My friend Tom is just that - my friend. He and I share non-verbal communication, understand each other's incomplete sentences and ever increasingly enjoy our time together.

I am grateful that he and I have found each other at this point in our respective lives and my only regret is that I have not known him longer. Tom is the patriarch of my family and my daughter's only grandfather - these facts always put a smile on my face.

Happy Birthday My Friend.

All the Best,


Anonymous said...

These are in your honor, Dad!
I love you! - Carol

There once was a man named Tomas
who liked wine, tennis, and law
He took a woman to bed
Now 48 years they’re wed!
I say there, nice work my pa paw!

Tom was an ardent grammarian
Who turned editors into carrion
He made writers sweat
Over at the Gazette
Don’t mess with this octogenarian!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Tom. Betty Jean Posted a comment but we may be blogged challenged and it may not have gotten through. Cheers to you on your eighty years and your 48th anniversary.

Rock and Betty Jean

Anonymous said...

(Here's the one that didn't get through earlier today)
Dear Tom,
Sharing in the lives of our children and grandchildren has afforded us the very special opportunity to get to know and love you over these last eighteen years. We treasure your friendship and look forward to spending time with you on our trips to Charleston and your visits to Atlanta. Happy, happy 80th birthday!!!!
Much love,
Betty Jean and Rock

Samuel D. Smith said...

This is lovely.

"Honor your father and mother..."


Beth Newman said...

Happy Birthday Tom!

All the best.
Beth Newman