Saturday, March 9, 2013

Benjamin Lane: Not Just the Facts

My father died a couple of weeks ago.  He was an accountant, working for the Federal Government for most of his career, and had been retired for the last 25 years. He kept good records, and he took care of his family.  He loved kids - anyone's kids.  He'd even stop by the side of a highchair in a restaurant to say hello to a toddler. 

My Dad relied on hard work and good thinking, and took no unnecessary chances.  He did what was right, whether anyone was looking or not. He understood logically that he was often fighting a losing battle, but that did not change his feelings about doing the right thing.  He was quiet; he let others stand in the light and take the credit.

People who knew my Dad well admired him.  People who didn't probably didn't notice what he was doing.

He had a sense of humor.  At least, he and I thought he did, as did my kids.  People who like professional comics didn't find him funny.  We know better:  humor, especially spontaneous, and sometimes foolish, is part of the texture of life.  We make things up as we go along.  I thought he was clever, and sometimes predictable, but always funny, in a light-hearted, share-the-wealth kind of way.

I really miss him...although, if you asked me to describe what I miss, it would be difficult, because my Dad was sometimes invisible.  It was a talent.  He could be fully present, catching every word, every expression, but sinking into the woodwork like any other unobtrusive drop of paint...until he told a joke. 

He took care of us, and is probably still taking care of us.  And he didn't have a middle name.

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