I wonder if we should have quit breaking his cigarettes… my sister and I grew up in the era when medical research had proven that smoking was BAD for you… toxic… a carcinogenic addiction with no potential health benefits like red wine or dark chocolate.
Our teachers had told us smoking could kill you so we broke a package of cigarettes to save his life. It did not go down well 🙂 and we stopped…
He didn’t officially die from smoking but 66 is really young to die in the 21st century and – whether he accepted it or not – smoking chipped away at his mortality… as did his opposition to entering a kitchen to do anything but eat and his aversion to vegetables.
With better habits, today he would likely have turned 75… and I would have done something cool to celebrate. It’s a tragedy that we can’t.
In many ways, it is surprising that my father was a smoker. He was the first intellectual to grace my life. He may have quit school at 15 to make some money but he had a natural intelligence that he fed constantly so that by the time I could have an intelligent conversation with him there was lots to learn.
A large part of the success I have had in life can be attributed to lessons I learned sitting on the carpet in front of my father’s leather recliner discussing matters of importance – politics, history, sports…
A lot of it felt like being a student of Plato laying out the laws of the universe. I question everything and only hold opinions that I can support by facts because of my father. It’s a bit funny because he veered off script at times… the student became the master… My father’s advice was tantamount to that of a great statesman… of course, saying is easier than doing 😉
In life, though, what is most critical is just being exposed to great advice. If you adopt it, you will prosper and can rise above your station in a way you have never imagined.
For me, what is wonderful about my father is the confidence and critical thinking he instilled in me at such a young age that I was counselling other seven year olds to follow their own path and not get caught up in the hysteria and misguided aims of the masses 🙂
I can’t remember him ever saying he was proud of me and our relationship was complicated enough it might make a great melodrama but – even when I wanted him to behave differently – I was always grateful for the incredible life philosophy he had instilled in me from the time I was capable of human language.
He represented critical thinking, compassion, ingenuity, bravery and hope.
He was the guy who made me political even though I never knew whom he voted for. There was a beauty in that – that the political process was about ideology not the dirty business of politics. I still remember watching Jimmy Carter get elected with him. A President that never gets enough respect.
I am sure my father would have been appalled by Trump and the forces of hate that have brought him to power. I wish we could talk about it. But – fingers crossed – sanity will prevail and I can drink a toast to hope in November – as I will to my dad tonight.
I wish you had paid more attention to your health but I am grateful for everything that you taught me. To all those dads out there who inspire their daughters 🙂