In a couple of weeks it will be 19 years since my father died. Someone sent a small azalea plant to the funeral, I don’t know who it was, I wish I did. I brought the plant back to New Jersey and stuck it in the ground by the front porch. It grew slowly at first but I was happy it survived at all. It has more than survived, it has grown huge. The blossoms in the spring are spectacular and the plant is a constant pleasant reminder of my father.
I’ve been thinking about him a lot since I met the woman yesterday who toured with Up With People. She talked about how her father didn’t support anything she did, in fact, often put her down. Somehow she has the inner strength to persevere without much external support. I was lucky to have parents who always told me I could do anything I set my mind to do. When I wanted to learn how to cartoon, they got me lessons. Because I sucked playing the trombone, they got me lessons. I still sucked, but that was due to lack of practice. Even though most of my high school classmates didn’t go to college, my parents essentially made me go. I now know that the only keeping me from doing anything is myself. I have a blessed life.