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Yesterday, we celebrated Dad’s 81st birthday. We gave him some birthday cards; I got him a book, because he loves to read, and Mom got him some new sneakers for the gym. We got him going a few weeks back because the Doc says he has to move more. We also went out to dinner last night so Dad could get a Ribeye, his favorite steak.

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Dad at the gym…

I’m thankful for Dad. When I was young, like most boys, Dad was a superman. Now that I’m back home helping the family because of his diagnosis of Dementia, our relationship is different. Dad likes to reminisce about the times he could go to the local movie theater and watch a few short films, a feature film, get a popcorn, and a drink for 15 cents. Dad is more human. Dad and I are friends now. Yeah, I can’t have deep conversations with him, but we watch TV shows together, we read together in the living room, and we enjoy pizza from time-to-time.

Dad worked his tail off when I was growing up. He worked for the Detroit Edison as a power plant operator. He worked shift work, yet still had the energy to come home and work on the house, around the yard, and did stuff with us kids (mostly TV).

What did Dad teach me? He taught me how to treat a woman. He taught me how to work hard and enjoy it. One of his sayings that comes to mind was: “If you know you have to do a job, there are two ways to look at the job. You can like doing the job and the time tends to go quickly and enjoyably, or you can dislike the job and time crawls and your miserable the entire time.” This advice helped me well during my 20 years in the Army.

He taught me about music. Dad loved to play the guitar and I, who wanted to be like Dad, learned to play a few instruments because I wanted to play something with Dad.

He taught me to read. He didn’t teach the mechanics of reading, but taught me the habit of reading. Like music, I wanted to be like Dad. So, I developed a reading habit at a young age. It has stayed with me to this day and helped me in the Army and in College.

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Me and Dad at his Physical Therapy.

There are so many things Dad has taught me. I am grateful for these things. Now that he is in his senior years, it feels good to be home and help him out—to repay a life of sacrifice and hard work so I could live a better life than he did. That’s the way it’s supposed to work, right? Anyway, it’s a treat and privilege to be home and help out the folks. Even today, we can get on each other’s nerves, but mostly, it’s great to hang out and pitch in when they need help with technical things or need me to read something they get in the mail they don’t understand.

So I’m grateful for Dad. He helped me become the man I am today and gave me, my brother, sister, and Mom a better life.

Until next time…

Dave