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Once every 5 to 11 years, my birthday falls on Father's Day. I can remember many occasions when we celebrated both events at the same time, but these days my family is aging and we're many hundreds if not thousands of miles apart, those days have become few and far between.
In addition to Father's Day, I share my birthday with that of my paternal grandfather. I was born on his 70th birthday, and for the next 26 years we endeavored to spend as many as possible of those birthdays together. I recall one such combined Father's Day/Birthday in late 60's early 70's. Looking at the calendar I see that the coincident years were '62 and '73 - when I was either too young, or living in the wrong state - so I suspect it must have been '67, with my grandfather's and my birthday the day before. That didn't stop us, we gathered at my maternal grandparents in central Pennsylvania - along with my family and two aunts/uncles and cousins from Mom's side, plus some family friends who were honorary aunt and uncle living near our home in eastern PA. My paternal grandparents lived in eastern Ohio, just across the OH/PA state line. Dad's cousin brought them to the gathering, which resulted in two birthdays, 2 grandfathers, 4 "uncles", and my father.
It was a grand celebration, and I still remember the cake - decorated with a Model-T on my grandfather's side, and a rocket ship on my side. I was fortunate to get to know both of my grandfathers, although sadly my maternal grandfather's health did not give him the astonishing 96 years of my paternal grandfather. Now in his 80's, my father is doing well, and he and my mother will be traveling overseas with me this summer. Time and age are slowing us down, but we will not stop until forced to do so! My father-in-law was alas another that was taken from us too soon, although I had 10 years married to his daughter to get to know him before his passing.
I proudly carry the names of my grandfathers as my own, receiving my
first name from the paternal side, and my middle name from the maternal
side. I am indebted to my fathers - natural, "in-law" and "grand." They have each played a role in who I am today.
I know, I did not post any special "Mother's Day" blog, and for that I apologize, for I owe the same debt to my grandmothers and mother who taught me to read, to cook, and to do so many things for myself; and to my mother-in-law for the precious gift of my wife.
For those of you who still have your parents, whether actual, biological, adopted, or the parents in spirit who made up for the shortcomings of your own, give them a special prayer and thoughts of love. For those whose parents have passed, remember them with fondness. For those who have no fond memories of parents, may you somehow, some day find a place for forgiveness in your heart.
Blessings to all fathers (and mothers) on this day.
[The Guide will resume on Wednesday, Monday's blog will be a special essay remembrance: The Room in My Grandfather's House.]