Commentary: Happy birthday to a shining example of a good man

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When my Mom passed away, I wrote my column about her. I honored her for the woman she was and the man she helped me to become. But here's the funny thing, she never got to read it, and that is one of my regrets. I think she knew how I felt, but still, it's always nice to hear it, or in my case read it. This week my Father will celebrate (well ... we'll force him to celebrate) a big birthday. I will not discuss his age as I enjoy walking without a limp, but I decided it was important for me to put into writing exactly what he means to me.

There is nothing wrong with him (that a good night's sleep couldn't fix), and he is in excellent health. He keeps himself active; you can find him volunteering at Experienced Goods two to three times a week, harassing his co-workers as they jab him back. But, as I look back at my 50-plus years, I want to make sure you, too, can pat him on the back for a job well done, helping me be the best man that I can.

As my Mother did, my Father was every bit a part of molding me into the man I am today. As a kid he was the breadwinner — he went to work before the sun came up and got home after it went down. It was rare that I got to see him during the weekdays, but on the weekends, he was always there (I constantly tease him about being a part-time dad, but truth be told, nothing could be further from the truth). Everything he did, he did (and still does) for his family. My Father's childhood wasn't ideal, but he will tell you he had it better than most. I feel that once he, too, became a parent he would make sure that the life he provided for his kids was the absolute best — mission accomplished. We went through some really hard times for a while, but as a kid I never felt it; he or my Mother wouldn't allow the rough times to touch us.

My Father taught me that bad people (or as he calls them ... begins with "a" and ends with "holes") come from all walks of life. He taught me that it doesn't matter what color or race someone is, "bad people are just bad people." He taught me that your family comes first, and no matter what happens you can always return home to the people that love you.

My Father wasn't too strict when I was growing up. He let me make my mistakes and then taught me how to overcome them and more importantly how not to make them again. He set his example by allowing me to watch him do it, watch him love, work and play.

As I look back to the 1960s, running around garden apartments in Queens, N.Y., to running free in Vermont, my Father was always there for me. He worries a lot about his family, and yes, I wish he would do less worrying and more living but he is who he is.

They say that the eyes are windows into a person's soul. My Father's eyes are certainly that. For me, making eye contact always brought me a sense of safety and protection, never judgement; rather, acceptance and belief that I would succeed. He never expected anything for the things he did, he just did them. He provided for two children, a wife, dogs and cats, gerbils and goldfish, and he never questioned any of it as long as it made us happy.

I think as we move through life we waste a lot of time and that's a fact. So this week instead of wasting time by complaining about our political front, I would make sure I would do what we all should do and tell the people around us that we love them.

So, to my father I say, "Dad ... No man I've ever met will live up to what you provided for me. No man will ever be equal to you in my eyes and no man could ever be the rock that you've been for me." I love you and happy birthday.

Fish is the opinionated jock on Classic Hits 92.7. He offers up his opinion at 7:50 every morning (Monday through Friday). Let's start the revolution. Email him at fish@wkvt.com. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.

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