Thinking about Dad

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2009

With Father’s Day coming up a week from Sunday, I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about my late dad and the many good times we shared.

Although he had to drop out of school in the eighth grade to get a job and help support my grandmother and two aunts in his native New Jersey after my grandfather, for whom I am named, was killed in an accident at a very young age, he was smart and well read.

Dad was older than the fathers of most kids my age growing up. Born in 1898, he was 45 when he and my dear late mother got married in 1941.

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Dad loved his country and his fellow man and always made sure my brother, Tom, and I did the same. Because he was born just before the dawn of the 20th century, he was too young to serve when World War I broke out and too old to serve when World War II broke out.

He often told me stories about mother’s brother, Uncle Tom, who was killed in Salerno, Italy, in World War II.

Saturday morning as I watched the television coverage of the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, which helped bring World War II to an end, tears came to my eyes.

As President Barack Obama and the leaders of France, Great Britain and Canada talked about the many heroes of the D-Day invasion, I thought about all the brave soldiers who lost their lives that day fighting so gallantly to defend freedom against tyranny.

The World War II generation has been called the Greatest Generation, and they truly are.

My dear friend, Mr. Clifford Wells in Climax, was wounded in World War II. He, Uncle Tom and the other veterans of World War II are true heroes, and I salute them.

Getting back to dad for a moment, he was the one who instilled in me my love of country and sports. Many of my most fond memories as a child were of attending major league baseball and college football games with him.

He provided the inspiration that allowed me to go after and reach my goal of being a sports writer in great place like Bainbridge.

When I was growing up, dad owned and operated a drive-in restaurant in Cairo called Crine’s Drive In. My job was to make milk shakes and my brother Tom’s job was to cook hamburgers.

Dad passed away in 1974, but from time to time, people still come up to me and tell me how much they thought of him and how much they enjoyed his hamburgers, chili dogs and milk shakes.

I’m sure many of you have similar loving memories of your dads. Those of you who are fortunate enough to have your dads still with you, go see or call them on Sunday and reminisce a little about the many good times you had together.

I especially want to congratulate the men who will be celebrating their first Father’s Day on Sunday .What a great day it will be for them.