(written on the 14th)
My father turned 87 today. His feebleness encroaches upon his hearing, his breathing, his heart, his mental acuity, even his ability to stand and walk—despite it all he has managed to live a good long time and make another milestone birthday. This is a tough old bird; a man who fought at a young age in World War II having his destroyer sunk out from under him by a mine during the battle of Okinawa after he had already done duty at Iwo Jima. In what had to be one of life’s greatest ironies, the ship that came to his rescue carried his only brother. In the hugeness of the arena that was the Pacific War, a brother rescued a brother; both Navy men to the core, it must have been something. The old remembrances pepper his talk whenever any of us give him the slightest opportunity; all stories we have heard countless times before.
The family gathered tonight (excepting granddaughter Rachael) for a fine dinner after he returned with my brother John from a fast ride in the old hot rod truck. We all wished him well and many more. Unfortunately, with his major infirmities, no one can know if he will have another. I gave him The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw, and I should have thought to inscribe it for him: “To one of the great men.” I love you Dad.