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June 16, 2010

Poor Tom's Almanac: To my dad in heaven, Happy Father's Day

Dear Dad:

How are things going beyond the pearly gates? I trust you're in fine company and you keep your harp well-tuned.

I could have sent you an e-mail but have no idea what the computer situation is like in heaven. Besides, a letter is still far more personal. You always believed that, being a man of letters, yourself.

Hard to believe 35 years have passed since you left us. I can remember gathering by your bedside and hearing your words of reassurance.

"I'm going on to a better world," you said. "Take care of mother."

Well, mother has turned 98 and is still full of pep, living in a nursing home and keeping the other residents amused with her humor and wisdom. Who would have ever guessed she would become the last remaining survivor of the Armenian genocide in our city?

Bet you thought by now both of you would be reunited. Wait a while! She wants a letter from the president when she turns 100.

You must have been surprised like the rest of us to be joined by your other favorite son, whose funeral was 10 years ago. He went much too quickly.

A lot has happened since then. We have five grandchildren, ages 8 months to 8 years. The oldest two are into school and doing well. They play deck hockey, basketball, tennis and are into computer games. Two other boys are ages 3 and 2, fight over each other's toys, and compete for attention. You would have loved their vitality.

Mazie's the newest arrival and a real head-turner. Had you been here, you would have spoiled five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. When they visit mother in the nursing home, it turns into a romper room as you might expect.

Your years on earth didn't go very far when you consider 66. The pity of it all was the fact you never did get to enjoy retirement like me. But it was a good and decent life, dad, full of abundance.

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