December 21, 2009

Voor Pietje

It is the shortest day today, and I am always happy for this turning point to lengthening days. But it is a special day for another reason: today would have been my dad's birthday. His 100th. I am grateful really, that he did not get to see this day because that would have meant he would have seen my mother decline and eventually die, and that would have been terrible. He loved her so very much.

My dad was special. He was the silent, quiet type and I still see him sit in the corner of the couch, smoking a pipe and listening to classical music, or reading a book. Music was important in his life, as well as some other simple pleasures, all in moderation. He loved going out to breakfast when he was here to visit, and Lazy Susan's in Canon Beach, Oregon was his favorite. Afterwards taking a walk on the beach with the dogs was "the good life" to him. As was sitting in first class in the airplane over here, sipping a glass of port, having some good cheese to go with it, and enjoying some favorite concerto over the earphones.

I have fond memories of my dad. He was the one to take me to my first concert at the Concertgebouw. I must have been about 7. Just him and me, and I was wearing a dress. I felt so grown up. I also remember my dad coming to my (field) hockey games, cheering me on on the sidelines. He also loved to walk and we went on many outings to our local town park, without much conversation.

It was my dad who watched airplanes I was on take off from his office at the airport, just to know I was off safe, and it was my dad who cried at the airport when I left for the US some 38 years ago. That one still hurts.

Hartelijk gefeliciteerd, Pietje, ik houd van je!

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