Today is Fathers Day 2014, so I thought it appropriate I write you a short note to let you know I still think about you and the influence you had on my life. You were a gentle soul. I don’t think I ever saw you lose your temper. If there were ever a family conflict, you were always the voice of reason. You taught me that compromise is not a bad thing.
What do I remember most? So many things, but probably all our family vacations, camping up and down the east coast in the pop up trailer you designed and built, using your aeronautical engineering skills. I can picture the pride you had showing off your family at those work visitation days at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. How many kids had a dad who: designed a test plane that saved the government billions of dollars? Or received a letter from President Carter thanking you for your military and civilian service? Or attended every appearance or performance I ever did? Or encouraged me to be whatever I wanted to be?
I hated that phone call when you had the stroke at work, providing for your family right up to the last moment, never getting the chance to do something just for you. Too brief a time to hold your hand for one final time, like we used to when I was little, before the two final strokes that took you into a coma from which there was no return.
Thirty-six years have passed since you had to leave. You missed out on a lot of happy events, like my college masters graduation, our two kids, and the rest of your grandchildren, my first novel. Did you know my boss, the Director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, came to your funeral? 58 is way to soon to be taken away.
So why don’t you come to dinner with us today and bring mother. It’s been a long time since we sat down together for a meal. I might even buy you a tie, but act surprised when you open it, so the others don’t know I told you.
Happy Fathers Day, Dad, Arthur George Jones, Jr., 1919-1978.
Richard Allan Jones is the author of the novel “Drafted” and the upcoming thriller, “Confidential Connection.”