Never give up, never give in and never complain!

by Bella Rum

Long time no see. It was not my intention to take a break. Who needs a break from an occasional chat with friends? Not me. I had nothing to say, but so what. That never stopped me before. Here I am again. So let me hold forth for a few minutes.

Dad’s birthday was yesterday. He turned 94. We had a big old party for him on Sunday and he had a blast. All of his children and many of his grandchildren and great grandchildren were there.

The Brother outdid himself and that’s saying something. It truly was a feast. I kept thinking, are we not the luckiest people in the world? I never can see food laid out so beautifully and in such quantity and not feel grateful.

I can’t help but think how random good fortune can be – starting with the happy or tragic accident of where we are born. There’s nothing like being born in a healthy country, graced with seemingly endless resources and loads of opportunity in your future. My generation was lucky enough to have that.

I’m tempted to write that we’re living in difficult times, but Dad would laugh at that. Living through a depression and born into a world where refrigeration, central air, central heat and indoor plumbing didn’t exist or were very rare, he’s pretty sure times are not ALL that difficult for many of us.

He still cannot understand why people have no problem flipping that light switch on but can’t seem to remember to turn it off.  We must be a spoiled lot. Electricity was probably the most stressful thing that ever happened for Dad. I swear he stays awake nights worrying that someone somewhere has left a light burning. I won’t even get into wasting water.

I know he believes we’ve become a little soft around the edges and possibly to the core. When I talked to him yesterday, I asked him if he was tired. He said, “I haven’t done anything all day.” To my way of thinking, being 94 is reason enough to be tired, but Dad believes you never complain about being tired when you haven’t done a full days work.  The fact that his legs don’t work anymore is no excuse.

Dad believed there was almost nothing that hard work wouldn’t cure. By example, he taught us that if we worked hard enough it would be pretty difficult not to make something of ourselves. His children bought into his way of thinking, and it served us well. There was only one catch. His formula required opportunity, and some would argue there’s less of that around lately. Dad would say that you make your own opportunity. There are no loopholes with that man.

Happy birthday, Dad.

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