We shouldn't wait until Father's Day to ponder the impact our dads have on our lives, but time slips by, doesn't it? We don't always reserve much of it to appreciate the contributions our loved ones make. Thanks to this greeting card moment, we all receive reminders to reflect upon and acknowledge someone who is important to us. Hereunder are a few reflections of someone that means a lot to me: Ken Flor.
My dad is 85. His hair, once jet-black and shiny, is now snow-white and shiny. His strength, which when I was a young teen seemed more like unyielding, stubborn toughness, is a sense of comfort to me now. I see his fortitude not as the stumbling block to the teen-aged shenanigans of my youth, but rather as the fuel and attitude that is helping to prolong his life. And this thought makes me feel happy, lucky, and blessed.
I've learned a lot from my dad. Not all the lessons were easy ones, but nevertheless, learn, I did. As I've gotten older, I've become more receptive -- and this is probably because I've put on mileage, and gained some wisdom of my own. I'm much more able to appreciate his perspective and understand his personality. Now that I'm in the second half of my own life, I relish his stories. I love to hear him talk about his younger days, and to see how gingerly he treats his memories.
One of the many things my dad has shared with me over the years, is a small marble collection that he kept safe among his belongings throughout his more than eight decades of experiences. I love the fact that he still has "most of his marbles." This could be construed as a flip twist of words, but actually, in his case, entirely true. My dad is vibrant, persnickety, and as interested and engaged in life as he ever was, though perhaps less physically able to climb the mountains he used to climb. No matter. He tends his vegetable garden, his fruit trees, and works with wood in his workshop. And as often as he can, he takes road trips with his dwindling group of buddies who band together in a club they call, The Dirty Old Men.
Dad's small collection of marbles are beautiful in their simplicity, and represent a world of memories for him. Shiny, smooth, round, colorful orbs of glass, they could easily travel with him in a leather pouch in his pocket and show up on the ground just about anywhere for a game of ringer that could keep him and his pals entertained for long periods of time. Friends -- engaged in a group effort, spending time together having fun. It conjures up all manner of "Tom Sawyer-like" visions.
My dad didn't grow up within a disposable culture or mindset. Possessions, though just 'things,' were prized because they were few, and kept whenever possible, for a lifetime. Friends were precious, and never thrown away. This kind of camaraderie is important no matter which generation you belong to.
Though I don't see kids playing this game today, the allure of marbles lives on. I discovered several websites that are dedicated to marbles, and for obvious reasons, it warms my heart. Some things, thank God, never change.
Never seen a marble collection? Check out www.MegaGlass.com, or www.LandofMarbles.com.
Happy Father's Day, Dad.