Gordon Albert McElroy, my dad
On Father's Day, I think of my dad.
He was a simple man in a world that devalues simple human beings. It is not fashionable to be a common man who loves his family, is a good neighbor and friend, a decent human being. My father quit school in the 6th grade during the depression because *his* father had died and he was the only male left in the family to make a living. But I never heard him complain about the choice forced upon him.
Gordon Albert McElroy loved his wife, his children, and classical music (especially opera). I never saw him commit an unkind act or speak a hurtful word. He went to work every morning; he gave honest labor for every cent he made, returning at night with candies hidden in his coat for his son and daughter to find as they launched themselves at him; he sang Irish ballads to his wife while she cooked dinner and whistled better than anyone else I've known; his best friend was a gay man who loved opera as much he did and gave me singing lessons for free; at Christmas, he made being poor okay by giving us lots of *small* presents...playing cards, crossword books...books of all kinds, bags of peanuts, seeds to grow in pots to plant outside in Spring.
More than anything else, he wanted a better life for his children and nothing, except death, stood in the way of that goal. My greatest regret in life is that he will never know how profoundly he succeeded. Dad died abruptly of a heart attack when I was ten and I will never be able to tell him how deeply he has impressed my life, how much I loved him and love him still. What I know of kindness, decency, honesty, compassion, art, forgiveness...the best part of me I learned from him as a child. I hold him inside me like a spark around which I put my arms.
On this Father's Day (and every other), I love you, Dad. You are alive in me.
For more commentary, visit www.wendymcelroy.com
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