|Taken by Peter Stewart|
Looking at this picture brings back such memories. You wouldn't know it from this picture, but Daddy was a morning person. I wonder what was going through his mind as he was making his coffee to take to work. It must have been the period after he retired from the Air Force and was working at General Dynamics, but I'm not sure, since I was out living my own life and wasn't around much during this time. But when I look at this picture, I project my own existential meaning into a thought balloon over his head: a rather melancholy reverie wondering what it's all about, the inevitable march of days, years, decades, with little imperceptible changes adding up to huge life changes.
My parents had seven children, me being the oldest. I'm turning seventy this year, and Mama has been gone for almost twenty years now. My son Chris, gone almost ten years. All of my parents' children are alive today, except for Tina Maria who was born prematurely and never had a chance to live at all. I was thinking that if I was able to have a nice chat with Daddy, he might wonder what's been going on down here.
It would take volumes to tell him everything, but there are a few things I would tell him if I could. First and foremost, thank you, and Mama too, for giving me the opportunity to have had such a rich and varied life. You would have loved what has happened in the world of electronics. I remember when you built yourself a television from scratch (or maybe it was a Heathkit). You loved all things electronic, and the blogosphere, the World Wide Web, is a real entity that would have sounded like science fiction while you were alive. I now have two blogs which I use to keep my writing life alive, to reminisce like I'm doing now, as well as to chronicle the wonderful existence I am experiencing in retirement.
Norma Jean and I use video chat to keep in touch a few times a week. Remember when I was a kid and we watched an old program called Believe It Or Not that projected a future world? I remember it said that by the Year 2000 we would have Dick Tracy-type wrist watches that would allow us to communicate face to face. Well, you would have to see today's iPhone to believe it! What a difference it makes to be able to laugh and share with Norma Jean virtually while we are on opposite ends of the country. Yes, you would have loved all the video advances.
I think you would also be proud of all that your children have accomplished. Although we are all as different as most family members tend to be, we all share some traits that can be traced directly back to you and Mama: we are all hard workers, skilled at our jobs and able to make ethical decisions that impact our chosen fields positively. You have dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We have all been good parents and remember you and Mama with infinite fondness.
So, Daddy, I wish you happy happy birthday! Your memory will never fade from my heart as long as I live, you can count on that.