Eric Louie MDI Contributor
Some of you know my relationship with my father. We’ve had our differences over the years. I’ve held him in both high esteem and low opinion, and sometimes held those opposite positions in subsequent minutes or hours. Suffice it to say, there’s plenty I learned from my dad about how to be. And, there’s the equal amount that he taught be about how not to be.
So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and giving thanks to what is, what was, and what will be, let’s discuss, from the mature masculine perspective, the positives that I’ve received from my dad.
First. Persistence. My dad doesn’t quit and especially when it comes to his beliefs about other people’s behavior and activities. Especially my activities. He’s normally observant about my activities and will very quickly let me know *repeatedly* what he disagrees with, how he disagrees, and what I should be doing instead of what I do. Are you laughing yet? And the beautiful thing is, his next positive.
Second. Consistent. He hardly ever changes his mind. Call them terms. Call them fixed thoughts and actions. Call it stubbornness. Call them whatever you want. He’s the same, day in, day out, and that opinion, viewpoint, action, activity, *never* changes. Even when he’s dead wrong. I’m telling you, that’s quite an amazing position to take, even in the face of contrary evidence. Amazing. Which leads to positive three.
Third. Generous. To a point. He did something that I would never expect him to do and he did it for over 10 years. Every morning, he would make 5 sandwiches. Put them in separate paper lunch bags. Add an apple or other fruit. Some potato chips. A box of juice. And he would go around Sacramento, find homeless people, and feed them. For years, he did this, virtually 7 days a week, take a day away here or there. Consistency. Persistency. I’d not be surprised if he was rejected a few times in this lunch distribution. It never stopped him.
Now, he would tell you he never stopped learning. He would tell you he reads voraciously. He would have you believe that he’s open minded. And I’d let you believe whatever you wanted about him, but a few minutes, hours, days, or months of observation would lead you to believe differently. Here’s the good thing about that, though.
He raised a good son, actually 4 good sons. Those sons all adore him enough to be respectful, (mostly) non-contradictory, supportive, caring, and dutiful. The third son died 2 years ago, he was dad’s companion for 6 years, until his death. The eldest son, in fact, decided to give up his independent life in “America’s Finest City” and move to Sacramento to be with dad, who was age 90 at the time. His son, who has been in great relationship with other men, enough to know that when it’s time to make the sacrifice and the commitment to be a companion to his aging father.
I’m grateful. Grateful that, unlike other men I know, I have a father who is still alive. Who is still thinking. Who is still (mostly) clear thinking (he’s losing his short-term memory, not a surprise). Who’s still talkative. Still walking mostly well. Still eating with a healthy appetite. Still feisty. Still active. Still healthy.
If your father has passed, and you want to know what you could have done with him, or if this is what you did for him in a similar circumstance, please know that there are men out there doing it, and doing it with the spirit that you have instilled and inspired in other men. To you men, I owe my debt of gratitude for giving me your example and for supporting me to make this important decision with no doubt and a “no problem” attitude. Happy Thanksgiving month, from Sacramento, California.