“Daddy Can Fix it!” A Letter to my Dad on his 100th Birthday.


Mom and Dad 1917-2008

YOUR CHILDREN THOUGHT YOU COULD DO ANYTHING. We often said to mom when anything broke or didn’t work, “Daddy can fix it” – and you usually could.  Your hands were skilled and busy at so many things in your journey through life.

YOU ROCKED YOUR BABIES; fixed my doll and brother Ed’s go-cart; drove your beloved Lincoln; loved your wife;  played piano and saxophone; washed dishes after a holiday meal; held a hymn book while you sang full and loud at church; taught me to dance, sing and drive; played cards; and hung the lights on our Christmas tree.

WHEN MOM WAS SICK,, you made us sandwiches of peanut butter, jelly and butter mixed all together.  You placed your daughters hands on your arm and walked us down the aisle; held your grandchildren; made a moving ferris wheel of an erector set for my brother for Christmas; and lifted your children up so they could see the parades.

YOU CALCULATED ANSWERS to geometry problems to help with homework; held doors open for the women in your life; swung a golf club; built beautiful wrought iron railings; set the United Way progress thermometer when you chaired the community campaign; guided mom in the samba;  and worked as a power plant engineer.


YOU ACHIEVED A BUCKET LIST GOAL when you designed and built your dream home for you and mom; you bathed your dog Casey; passed the collection plate as deacon at the Presbyterian Church; shook hands with a smile when greeting new and old friends; carved the turkey on Thanksgiving; and over folded hands, said grace before meals.

IN THE LAST MONTHS OF YOUR LIFE, when you needed assistance, I helped you with your meals.  Sometimes, you would reach out your two hands to grasp my left hand , tightly wrapping both hands around my thumb and holding on – while my free right hand raised the spoon to your mouth.  With a touch of the spoon to your bottom lip, you would open your mouth and eagerly take the nourishment.  This was just how my infant son had held my one hand with his two – so lovingly and securely – as I fed him with the other hand.  I’m glad my son would get to know you.  I thought about the circle of life.

WHEN MOTHER SAT WITH YOU, I watched her gently hold both your hands in hers.  Holding them reverently, she would turn them over and over as if studying them, and she would whisper, “Oh Harold, all the things you could do with these hands.   You worked hard.  You were a good provider for me and our four children.  You made a good life for your family with these hands.”  Then she would hold his hands tightly to her chest and cry softly for their shared loss..


YOUR HANDS served you well to create a life well lived.  You reached out with a friendly spirit to family, friends and co-workers and you made a difference in your world. Your hands are now still for eternity and your work on earth is done.  Your beloved wife Ina, born the same year as you in 1917, passed away in 2008, a few months after you.  We miss you both every day.

WE WILL MISS YOUR PRESENCE in the upcoming holiday – but – we will call to mind memories and stories of our life with you- “Dad loved pie of any kind” – “He hated to lose at any game” – “He had a joyful laugh” – and “Remember the time…..”.   You will be fully present in our midst,  as the family gathers for Thanksgiving.


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