On Sunday, we’ll gather together at our home; I plan to bake a ham and make lemon pasta. My son and daughter, her fiancé, my mother-in-law and assorted other family members will arrive for lunch and we’ll have a Fathers’ Day feast.
We have a lot to celebrate – because Jorge is a great dad. And he’s not only that way towards his kids. A whole college full of students – past and present, friends’ children, and family members have benefited from his generosity, wise advice and good nature.
When my children were small, I used to ask them, “Didn’t I find you the best daddy?” They’d chorus Yes-s-s-s-s! and run to hug Jorge. But once, a serious little voice asked me, “How did you know he’d be such a good dad?”
I don’t remember what I answered (when I met Jorge I wasn’t projecting into the future and imagining the kind of father he’d be… more immediate matters filled my mind!) However, some little piece of my brain must have realized that Jorge possessed many of my own father’s character traits and I wanted a man like him for my little brood.
Everyone called my dad Johnny. Born in California, he moved with his family to Canada in the mid 1920s. His boyhood in Alberta, the Depression of the 30s, six years of combat through WW II, his post-war years working along the British Columbia coast as a cook on every kind of boat that floated… none of those experiences seemed like the training ground for being a dad but he certainly picked up the skill somewhere along the way. I was the first born of his eight children.
He and my grandfather built the North Vancouver house where we all grew up. I associate many happy memories with those years and much of the credit of course goes to Dad. He’d start each day at 5 am, making our porridge… this way it had time to cool to the temperature we preferred. On Sundays after Mass, he cooked a big breakfast with bacon!
He made up games and played with us and certainly wasn’t one to keep his fatherly advice to himself. He approached fatherhood in the same way he did everything else – with gusto! Yet he could also be very introspective…
Dad used to like reciting snippets of poetry. He said the verses made him feel peaceful when life was going crazy …
Last year, I reprinted my dad’s favorite poem. Today, in memory of him, for Jorge, and for all the other dads out there… With love, I give you:
By: William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
Continuous as the stars that shine
The waves beside them danced; but they
For oft, when on my couch I lie
PHOTOS: Jorge and Carlos 1982 ; Jorge and Maggie 2008; Dad and Me 1955 ;
Dad, brother Peter and Me 1957 ; The Daffodils: Google Images