by lagidor p. nos
anyone who's followed this blog knows about my gratitude for dad. ..for a video-graphic re-minder, click here for "eighty five."
before i get to the story (below), allow me to say "happy father's day" to:
* al martineau * larry martineau * joe martineau * john martineau * steve martineau * jerry dunn * tom amaral * mike dunn * rob dunn * buddy huntley * and all of my brothers-in-crime:
* jim casey * mike williams * dick reinhardt * brett pace * george kousaleos * doug pearson * dan hartsock * bob simeone * george ruhlman * dan merle * andrew van blarcom * mark brewer * bruce shevitz * john kiger * john vanner * eddie peironi * dom ragosta * frank little * mike bonitati * bobby hoffman * dale fletcher * ralph newman... and the many, many other great buddies who are also great dads.
the story: back in college, while majoring in physical education, i used to lecture my father on all of the things that he was "doing wrong" to his body. ..as a balding, stocky, male (with high-blood pressure)... who consumed a lot of meat/dairy... who was a smoker, a drinker, and had more than his share of elevated emotions... i was afraid he'd never make it past age 55.
around that time (approximately 30 years ago), a fraternity brother of mine (representative john vanner, johnston, r.i.) asked me to have a beer with him at "iggies," which (back then) was located just a few streets off of the university of rhode island campus.
john's dad had just passed away. ..as we were sitting there, john said something that changed my life. ..john said:
"lenny, i used to lecture my dad all the time -- about smoking, drinking, and cardio-respiratory risk factors. ...but now...now that he's gone, i wish that i'd just become his friend."
it was that day that my father became "al," more often than "dad."
at the same time, my mother became "jo" (more often than "mom"). ..i decided to become friends with my parents. ..instead of making them feel bad while judging their habits and behaviors, i spent time with them: laughing, singing, dancing, driving, eating, and more laughing.
the thought process was, and has been "love them while you can."
albert peter martineau was orphaned (by his father) at age 5, when al's mother passed away. ..he went into the army air corps instead of finishing high school, and he fought in world war II. ..he worked most of his life as a panograph operator in a factory called "henry evers co."
he's always done all of the shopping and all of the driving, as josephine never had the desire to learn how to drive. ..al paid the bills, and provided for a wild family, consisting of a wife and seven children. ..he arrived home at the same time, every single night of the week, and you could set your watch by the time he'd open his first beer of the night (much to the chagrin of my mom).
he never, ever called-in sick, and i remember following in his footsteps with perfect attendance at school.
over the years, we've been golfing, sailing, cruising, fishing, beaching, and even tailgating together. ..i've woken up many, many, many mornings, to the sounds of al & jo, fully engaged in the morning rituals of coffee, news, crosswords, and talk-radio.
we've enjoyed hundreds of family-oriented re-unions; we've played family games; we've gone on vacations, and we've gotten into our share of "spirited discussions."
i don't regret a single moment.
at age 50, i can truly say that i am grateful for all of the memories. ..dad, here's to YOU!