Honoring My Century Year-Old Dad On Father's Day

“Life was a lot simpler when what we honored was our fathers…rather than all major credit cards.” – Robert Orben

During a recent shopping trip to NYC, Michelle and Cecile took a bus to Hoboken, NJ to pay my dad, Frank, a visit. 
They brought him some of his favorite pastries from Panera’s. My sister Josie, who lives nearby was present. Dad was holding court in his office, surrounded by plaques, awards, commendations, proclamations and photos of him
with the local mayor, Dawn Zimmmer, Councilwoman, Jennifer Giattino, state senator, Brian Stack and NJ Freeholder, Anthony Romano for his life of service. I will always be grateful to these fine leaders for honoring him.

Michelle thought it would be a great idea to have her grandpa talk to me on FaceTime. 
He really perked up when he heard his grandson Jason was home with me. “Dad, it's grandpa on Facetime,” he said. 

Thanks to great genes and a peaceful, easy going Buddha-like disposition, my dad is 100 and 5 months old now. 
HIs ever curious mind is still intact. 

Advancing age has slowed him down to be sure.
He uses a walker to get around.
He is blind in one eye due to macular degeneration.
He has limited vision in the remaining eye.
He needs help getting dressed.
He has a live-in caregiver, named Marcelle to help groom and fix his meals. God bless her soul!

But, what I love about him is he doesn’t indulge in self-pity.
In fact, he is fond of saying, “There is always someone else worst off than me." He’s been telling me this since I was a young man.

Every evening I call to check up on him.
“How are you feeling pop?” I ask.
“Pretty good, so far,” he answered matter of factly.
“Good!" I respond.
“Good for nothing,” He says jokingly about his inability to do things he used to do.
He rarely takes himself too seriously, and jokes about his age by saying: “I’m no Spring chicken anymore.”

Over the last several years I have become more patient with him. Since my mom died 4 years ago I began taking an oral history of his life, which generated many newspaper stories.
When I talk to him, whether by phone or during my visits from California, I know I’m in for an evening of reruns, but they are reruns of a great movie, the movie of his life. 

When I’m in his presence, I love to gently kiss the top of his fuzzy balding head—grateful for each precious day he is with us. He has taught me a great deal about aging gracefully. He has an incredible lightness of being about him, and makes it a point to preserve his inner peace no matter what circumstances he finds himself in. He even wears a wrist band that says, “Don’t Worry!”

I once read a quote from G.K. Chesterton that reads: “Angels can fly because they take themselves…lightly.”
That’s my dad!
Happy Father’s Day Pop!❤️

Postscript: The angel on his shoulder is one of a half dozen I gifted him. They gently emit a pulsating light at the heart level. He keeps them on the back of his desk and on his office window sill, happy to have them watch over him.