Tomorrow will be the 34th Fathers Day without my father. He died in November 1980. But not a day goes by where I don't think of him. And for the last third of a century I have carried his last drivers license with me, in my wallet, so Dad is always with me wherever I go. When I had a big presentation to the Chairman of the division I worked in at IBM or to the vice presidents, I took Dad's license out of my wallet and put it into the pocket of my white shirt, right over my heart. I figured that if Dad was that close to me, I wouldn't screw up the presentation and it would go well, and it always did.
I ran and completed the New York City marathon, in 1981. I trained for a year and ran it in his memory. It was a fairly cool day and I wore a pair of garden gloves, and Dad's license was inside the left handed one. He was with me the entire way and helped get me over the tough spots. I also have the watch my mother gave him for their 25th wedding anniversary. I wear it on special occasions in his memory.
I have a lot of family letters in my bureau that I have kept over the years and also a lot of miscellaneous Fathers Day cards, thank you notes, etc. I have the letter my grandfather wrote to my mother during her first year of college. And the ones my parents wrote me during my freshman year. Lots of advice and good wishes in them. One of the letters I wrote to my mother in February of 1981, a few months after Dad died. There is a lot of family news in the letter, what our kids were doing, what my wife Kathy was doing, etc. The last part of the letter I was writing about my father, and what he meant to me. With Fathers Day around the corner, this can apply to all of our fathers.
" I was thinking of Dad this past Wednesday February 25. 3 months already since he died. Its hard to believe its been three months already plus hard to believe I don't have a father any more. I wear his watch every day plus keep his last drivers license with mine in my wallet, and I have his army picture framed and on my bureau, plus I wear a lot of his clothes, so while he may be far away, he is still near.
I hope he realized how much I loved him and thought about him and admired him and respected him, and especially for all he went through his last three years. And I hope he was proud of me and all I have accomplished and I hope I did the right things for him when we came down to visit. I wish we could have gotten down to the Cape more to see you all and to be with him. I hope he realized how much I appreciated everything he did for me and I can't thank him enough."
To Dad and all the fathers out there and to all those who have gone before us, Happy Fathers Day!