Monday, August 19, 2013

Adirondack Memories: Happy Birthday in Heaven, Dad

Inextricably woven into my memories of  Adirondack summers 
as a kid are birthdays at the lake.
Dad's birthdays year after year.
The lake had to be  the backdrop for the celebration or it seemed not to 'be.'

Now, 40, 30, 20, 10, 5 years later, we have found a 'new' spot to call our husband and I, with our boys,
but the mountains, the old growth pines, the glassy lakes,
 call us back to another era when those we loved most were there, gracing our presence.
They now grace our memories.

And so, on every August 17, when we now seem always to be at the lake, 
once again,
 thoughts of course, speed back in time, ablur, to Dad's special day.
Oh, I know there's a party in heaven for him.
I know he is with those who went before......  
his sisters, his beloved mom, his army buddies
and his wife of 49 years, my Mom.  
And our baby, who died before her birth in 1999.

A celebration of Dad and of summer always seemed to be one and the same. 
Dockjumping, walks to town, 
birthday candles melting on whipped cream cakes and off-key singing.
Fishing, checkers, the aroma of lighter fluid mingling with sand and lake mist,
 grilling, homemade cards, homemade gifts.
Always, the silly tie or socks, wrapped as well.
And always, Dad would say in answer to, "Are you having a good birthday?".........
"It's always a good day when we're together."

As long as we're together.....
This, from a man who spent four years defending the Filipino people 
during the Japanese occupation, 
who struggled to resume his warehouse job upon the war's end in 1945,
 raised five kids who each earned college and post graduate degrees,
 though he never  acquired more than a few credits of college courses, himself.
We were 'successful' and that was what mattered to him.
We carried briefcases and train tickets to work and he was proud.
Though now, I carry sharpened Dixon Ticonderogas, and workbooks to the den
 where the polynomials and dictionaries and tomes of literature await each day.
I know he'd be proud that my husband and I have chosen a path that is oft looked upon askance and is unpopular in today's culture.

For a man whose parents were Irish immigrants in the first decade of the 1900s,
met, married and gave birth to him in 1916, lived below poverty level in the tenements of the lower west side, enlisted to defend his country on December 7, 1941, 
married his sister's best friend and his love in 1943,
bought his dream house on an 80x100 foot plot in rural, spacious Queens ( ! ) in 1947.
He died after a life lived to ensure that 
our happiness, our freedom and our liberties would remain secure, 
as Americans and as his family.
And the only thing he wanted upon his death was to spend more time with his Mom,
 who died exactly four months before I was born.

I write of Dad's Mom in 
Always Hope: The Soldier in the Snapshot

Dad left us twenty years ago, just before his 78th birthday.
Well, Dad, now you have the time and your Eternal Reward 
and you deserve it.

~Happy Birthday in Heaven, Dad~

My college graduation Jan. 1987
Mom and dad's wedding day
Oct 1943

 Thank you, friends, for visiting!
I appreciate the time you spent clicking over here at my home on the web.

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I plan to return tomorrow with a post around our last day in the Adirondacks...
horse back riding, a step back into the 1700s and leaving the lake.

Until next time,


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  1. Chris,

    Thank you so much for sharing your memories of your dad with us. I can see you loved him so very much.

    "It's always a good day when we're together." Yes! Those words are so true. I feel the same with our family. It doesn't matter what we do. As long as we do it together, it's a good day.

    I didn't realise you lost your dear baby the same year we lost Thomas. They entered heaven close together!

    Love to you!

    1. Oh Sue, thanks so much for visiting! I always love your words.

      I just wish those pesky 9000 miles were not between us.


  2. Another beautiful, heartfelt post, Chris. Thanks for sharing. I shared memories on Longings End today, too. And I hate to let her go...

    1. Thank you, Sheila~ I appreciate your made my day!

      I will definitely click to Longings Ends to read today's post!
      Take care!~

  3. Hi Chris, where are you at? Those Adirondacks were once close to my backyard - I was from Buffalo/Rochester area. I keep telling my husband I need to show him the beauty of that area. You just warmed my heart today and brought back so many memories! God bless. Linking with Faithful Friday.

    1. Aw, thanks Kim. I appreciate your visit and your kind words.

      Stopping in at your blog to chat more.

  4. It is so good to have special memories of loved ones. Thank you for sharing yours with us.

    1. Charlotte, thank you so much for visiting and for hosting!

  5. Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories of your father. And thank you for his service to our country. Thanks for sharing at Inspire Us Thursday on Organized 31.

    1. Thank YOU, Susan, for stopping in and for your kind words!


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