Yes, I’m a die-hard one. Occasionally I turn cynical or negative if someone is acting badly toward my family. I see it as being pragmatic, seeing the other side of the coin and doing what is necessary to fix the issue. My mother-in-law calls herself “Mama Bear” and I am as vigilant with her son and our dog. I just got a dog removed from the neighborhood because he viciously bit me with no provocation whatsoever. Luckily our old dog was not with me as she may have been killed and it was so quick I do not know that I could have saved her in time though I would have fought to do so and taken that dog to Animal Control myself.

An optimist, I’ve been trying to get the owner to train that dog for years, to no avail. The dog was with an 18 year-old dog sitter, on her first day of work, and the owner never told her his dog wanted to bite any dog and everyone he encountered. Pragmatism, I finally filed a report with photos of my bloody arm. Enough is enough.

Years ago my husband would have said I was too emotional, I said he was too scientific and methodical. We were both right. Now I can look at a business or personal situation, figure out what is going on and reasons for said behavior and recommend a way to fix it.

He’s always been more into math and physics than people. I’m soc/sci/art so am more of a people person. We’ve kind of morphed as we’ve been together over 16 years.

Today I missed Thanksgiving with his family. I didn’t even cook here. The dog has plenty of food and after lying by the front door for a while awaiting his return yesterday she went back to her routine. I believe she knows that he is coming home. What freaked her out was seeing him with luggage. She hates anyone in her “pack” to leave but is used to this. She is an eternal optimist.

Now we get to Dad. When I returned from his funeral and burial a year ago I entered and found a home filled with flowers and one evergreen tree that has to be grown indoors in our weather. A year later, it is leaning to the left. I decorated it, starting said tree given to me by the women in my husband’s family, adorned by a silver star with his name and dates of birth and death. Of course husband said place all the heavier ornaments on the right, and he was correct! It’s almost straight and no longer a precious “Charlie Brown Tree.”

This year I decorated it with old ornaments, mainly ones I’ve collected for me and my husband over the years depending upon where we were living at the time, a tradition my parents started in my childhood. Atop is the silver star. My mother-in-law saw our stockings one year (they’re never filled, just decorations) and gave me another. She said our dog Zoe was family, too. So last year’s ornaments were hand-knitted finger puppets. He’s the cow (he grew up on a dairy), I’m a horse and Zoe, of course, is the dog.

Dad used to play ball with everyone in the neighborhood. He mentored a genius from across the street. I believe we both believed in people until they demonstrated that they could not be trusted.

There was always an infectious (in a good way) spirit in him that lit up a room or a street for touch football. When I was away at college he bought a small sailboat, 17′ day sailer. He had appointments/performances from dawn to dusk, got home for an hour for dinner and had to go see the ballet (or symphony or opera) and my day was just as long as at the end I handed him de-thorned roses backstage to hand to the prima ballerina. Then many evenings my parents would have to entertain donors and divas after the performance.

When he got us to go out on the boat to relax for a half-hour the wind had died down for the evening on the lake and he’d man the tiller, brother was on jib and mainsail and I was there to let the centerboard down in case we needed it for stability. He said “watch out, we’re going to go like heck any minute!!!” We never did. It was a chore to get back to the dock, but he got to relax and as an executive see something done in an hour, rather than weeks, months or years. I understand that now.

That boat escaped in storms and was returned by real sailors because they all knew to whom it belonged. It had a hole in the bottom and sank at the dock a few times. I understand that is was a respite from mayhem and a place to put one’s brain back in gear and generate great ideas. He kept it despite its faults.

I highly respect the lessons he taught me about being who you want to be, fairness, equality, humor, kindness and love.

He resuscitated moribund educational and arts institutions and also created new ones. I haven’t come quite that far but have my own share of great ideas, have been a consultant and as his eldest child whether it’s nature or nurture it doesn’t matter to me. In my retirement I still bug people to get things done. Thanks, Dad!

Cheers and hope you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving and are taking a nice long nap. Dee



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