Today is Father’s Day. I am reminded of those words as Father’s Day approaches. I am a fortunate person, as are my six siblings and our dearly departed cousins Sam and Robert Harnum Bob George is to all of us a father more than a hundred schoolmasters. Dad brings wisdom, love, humour and pride to us all. My dad will be 90 soon. He is a gift to all who know him. I have so many people in my life who have taught me and influenced me, many who have great education and who teach in hallowed institutions. I am proud to be able to say that the greatest lessons I learned about life and love I learned from Dad. He was 54 years old when I was born. When he turned 65, I was 10. He was retired and he was around. He worked hard in his retirement supporting our subsistent lifestyle. Dad is a great example of hard work and honest living.
People often say – “Kevin, you are a great storyteller.” I’m not sure that is so true but I do love telling stories. I learned to story tell listening to Dad. We would hear our favourites of Dad’s stories at the supper table. It never seemed to matter if we had heard the story before – we always listened when he told it again. Sometimes there might even be a change in detail. He still has us all riveted when he talks with passion about how thick the black flies were in the lumber woods, or how Art Rowe could cross Jimmy Rose Pond in three strides. We heard so many tales of his time in the woods, stories of fishing with his brother Albert, and yarns about working on the highways and the storms that he endured. Some of his stories are funny and some are sad. They all have in common passion and deep emotion. I will give you this example. As a child I was fascinated by a photo that hung in the hall of a young boy. I still remember hearing Dad tell me for the first time the picture’s story. The boy in the photo was Henry Charles (pronounced char-less) George – my dad’s brother. He drowned when he was just eight when he and Uncle Albert fell through the ice on the pond. Uncle Albert’s mittens stuck to the ice and he survived. Poor Henry Charles was not so fortunate. I have never heard him referred to as anything but “Poor Henry Charles” It is a sad story but an important part of the George story and his story is so well told by my Dad. The emotion that my Dad displays in bringing Henry Charles to life is real and it is testament to how we can keep alive our common story.
Dad has worked hard all his life. He sacrificed, as did Mom for all of us. I have two parents who are great and who have given us so much. We owe much thanks to our dad for all that he has done. Any success the seven of us have had in life is in no small measure a testament to what he has done for us. Thank you, Dad for your hard work, your sacrifice, your humour, your discipline, your love, your wisdom, your intelligence, your guidance, your support, your care and for your protection. Thank you, Dad for being such a strong and dedicated father. Thank you for sacrificing your senior years to raise young children. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. – Thank you for being such a great schoolmaster to all of us. Thank you for being such a loving Dad!