Saturday, September 02, 2006
My Dad's birthday was September 2nd. He died in the 70's; a long time ago. I still miss him. He died quite young (58) of heart disease; a condition that began when he had his first heart attack at 48 years old. Back then, if your arteries were clogged, you were just out of luck. In 2001, when I began suffering from similar symptoms, I was hospitalized and angioplasty was performed, unblocking some of my arteries. My Mother, who also has coronary artery disease, had bypass surgery in 1999. She is still with us, and will turn 87 years old next month. We think she will outlive all of us. My Father was one of 13 brothers and sisters, the son of a poor Georgia share cropper. He only went to the seventh grade, but he was the smartest man that I have ever known. My Dad taught me some valuable lessons. Some of this knowledge came from his awareness that his life might be short. The most important lesson he taught me was to be kind to people, especially people less fortuate. He would tell me that it was the responsibility of the strong to take care of the weak. He would tell me to "pass along some kindness to everyone you meet." Dad would say, "If you love someone, tell them, they have a right to know - and furthermore they would love to hear it!" So many things that he told me, so many years ago, have guided my life so far. Now I understand, more than ever, the urgency he felt to pass on these life messages as I in turn pass them on to his namesake, Preston - my son!