Saturday, March 11, 2017

416. Dad would be 98 today!

A wonderful memory from 1972 (I was 19):

I had just returned home to Pittsburgh from several years study in Paris. I was planning to move on -- when Dad had his second heart attack.

It quickly became obvious that it would be necessary for me to stay and help Mom run the business (a music store in Washington, PA.) ... Eventually, Dad became well enough to return to work.

This was one of the happiest times of my life, as Dad and I became closer. He was trying to teach me about business, thinking perhaps that I might take over the store someday. We became closer than ever because we were spending so much time together. (As a kid, Dad was on the road a lot. I didn't spend even 5% of the time with Dad that I spent with my own children!)

The highlight of those days was our daily walk down Main Street to the George Washington Hotel for lunch. We'd talk about music, religion, politics.

But I was always totally amazed at the way nearly every adult passing in the opposite direction would see my father and shout out something like, "Hey Sam -- how are you?" It seemed like he knew everyone in this relatively small city, and how much he seemed to be loved and respected by everyone.

One day during this lovely ritual, I heard Dad call out a hello to some guy passing in the opposite direction. No response.

At lunch, I asked him about it.

"Oh, we had a falling out years ago."

"But why did you say hello to him, then?"

I don't recall him giving me any kind of specific answer. I just can remember his angelic smile, and it came to me in a rush -- I had never really heard my father speak unkindly about anyone other than Richard Nixon.

I always had the fried shrimp. Dad ate cottage cheese a lot.