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On A Notable Occasion, Part Deux

DSC03313Having devoted space on this blog a month ago to my wife and mother on the special occasion (Arbor Day, if memory serves) I though it would only be fair to devote today’s column to the most important father in my life: me. But at the behest of a few friends who suggested that may come off as ‘narcissistic’ and that I was ‘full of myself’ and even ‘ego maniacal,’ I’ve devoted this instead to MY Dad, who actually IS the most important man in my life.

Dad has instilled in me many of the qualities and interests that define who I am, and how I act, in some situations to frightening results. I, for example, curse in almost an identical fashion when I’m hit with a minor setback, and have adopted the same brand of dress sock. But beyond these idiosyncrasies, Dad has, on a deeper level affected my interests through the various activities I participated in (or was drug kicking and screaming to attend).

Some of the fondest memories I have from my childhood stem from playing Little League in a group near my house. My dad is a huge baseball fan, and so he was always involved in coaching me and my brother, either as assistant or head coach. I was actually pretty good at pitching back then, thanks to my dad’s instruction and of course the HGH which wasn’t banned at the time.

After late afternoon games, we’d always head over to Roy Roger’s for a post game analysis/fried chicken introspective between frequent trips to the Fixin’s bar. Those wonderful dinners sparked a lifelong love for Roy’s, a chain which now seems inconveniently relegated to toll road rest stops.

Dad is a long suffering Phillies fan, and so from a very young age I accompanied him and my late grandfather on dozens, perhaps hundreds of trips down to the Vet to watch the Phillies occasionally eke one out. At the 5th inning we’d always head down to concessions to get a few Cokes and walk around the stadium, before returning and feasting on the (hopefully salted) peanuts Mom sent along with us. I still crave those peanuts, picking up a bag every now and then, shelling them in the living room much to my wife’s chagrin.

My dad and I also share a love of history, something he fostered in me during my childhood through our frequent visits to the many, many historical sites in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. By the tail end of these visits we were scraping the dregs of museums, and some of dubious accreditation (William Penn’s Old-Timey Ball in a Cup Factory and Riverboat Casino) but the damage was done – I was destined to become history buff (and dual history major).

Nowadays my dad is about 300% more active than the average retiree, playing senior league baseball 9 months of the year, traveling to a variety of exotic locales with my mom (Africa, Australia, Minneapolis), umpiring and refereeing high school baseball and basketball and pursuing a surprising new interest in geology, which has overrun our old ping pong table with ‘samples.’. He also plays well the role of ‘Pop-Pop’ to his six grandkids, including my very own Justine.

Now that I am a father myself I look to the examples he set for me as I was growing up, and will try to best of my ability to do at least half as good a job as he does. So now, from a son to his Dad, and now one father to another, I say:

Happy Father’s Day!

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  • Dad

    Mark, I am touched by your words above. I never thought about being considered a “fatherly role model”. I am proud that you think of me that way. Mom and I are very proud of you and the person, and father, you are. I suspect one day Justine will feel the same way about you…when she stops teething and starts sleeping through the night. Love, Dad