|Greg & Dad|
The holidays can be an amazing time with family and friends. But as the recent events in Connecticut have shown us, for those that have lost loved ones, it can always be bittersweet as you remember holidays shared with them.
It was ten years ago today that I received the phone call that my father had passed. That call came in the middle of the night, just a few days prior to my flying to Texas to be with them all for Christmas. Yes...only three more days and I would have seen him. It is hard for me to believe ten years have flown by that quickly and yet I can recall that particular year so clearly as we rushed to get his funeral done in those few days that lead up to Christmas and what a hard Christmas it was to get through.
But rather than dwell on that sad time, I wanted to remember the good times. The Christmases that I know he and my mom would discuss that money was tight, but somehow they would manage to get us that ‘big ticket item’ on our list. (The photo here is from the early 80s when I got my Atari for Christmas.) The crazy holidays visiting relatives when grandparents' homes were overflowing with way too many people - but we'd make it work by plopping down a 'bed' wherever we could. The family vacation where dad drove us from Texas to Colorado and we thought we were really something sleeping in a van at the KOA campgrounds - never knowing that was my parents way of affording the trip and wanting to give me and my sister a great memory.
|Dad & Mom|
Dad was a salesman. He could sell anything to anyone! And I think in many ways, I got my “I can do that” attitude from him. I went into a business where I was constantly selling myself. As a performer. As an author. And he believed that I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to do. Even my years in Corp America as I climbed that ladder, Dad absolutely saw no reason why I shouldn't be working my way up to management.
Dad was also a people person. He loved to talk to strangers. (Probably why he was so good at his job when he would go into a store to speak to clients and make them believe they needed what he had on his truck in their store. Then later in life, he worked many years for Frito Lay and was known by many as ‘the chip man’.) I can usually hold my own when speaking to strangers and I guess he instilled in me that we learn from talking to others and as a writer: well, that’s where I get the best characters!
|Mom/Me/Dad (Yes...I was a turtle)|
I try to remember the whole package of my dad and not just the last ten years of his life where he fought with heart disease. He died much too young at 59, but to me – he seemed as if he had already lived a full lifetime by that point. He served as an MP in the army overseas. He married young and divorced young. He blended a family when he married my mom and they had me. He buried a son. He said “let’s do it” when my mom wanted to become a foster family and then we were blessed with an awesome little boy who we ended up adopting. But he always seemed to roll with the punches (okay – I didn't get that quality as I’m always stressed, but wish he would have passed that along to me).
I celebrate him ten years after his passing.
I miss you, dad.
But I see you every day when I look in the mirror.