Friday, October 27, 2006

Pretty Dazzling

I love my Dad. He is the world's greatest guy.

He is brilliant--literally; he is a genuine intellectual--and he is kind and good and generous and sincere and noble and gracious and patient and loving. When God made my Dad, God threw away the mold. There is no man on earth more worthy of love and respect than my father.

My father grew up on a farm in Iowa, near Pella, a town settled by Dutch immigrants, which is why I have a Dutch last name. Pella is a beautiful town, one of the most beautiful small towns in America, and is widely known for Pella windows.

My father obtained a scholarship to Yale, and after completing his B.A. he enrolled in law school. He chose the University Of Chicago Law School because the University Of Chicago was such an intellectual hothouse at the time (it was the 1960's) and the entire campus was bursting with brilliant professors and brilliant scholars and brilliant students. Has America ever enjoyed such a remarkable assemblage of talent in one place at one time?

After law school, my father moved to Minneapolis, where he has lived and worked ever since. He is now General Counsel for a large corporation headquartered here.

When my brothers and I were young, my father would rise at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. and go to work. He would do this so that he could leave work at a reasonable hour and spend his late afternoons and evenings with his three sons. He never missed any of our games or school activities or church events. He was always there for us when we returned home from school, and he would spend all of his time with us, playing ball with us and having us work with him in the yard and monitoring our homework while we all sat around the large kitchen table. Happily, now that we three boys are all grown up, my father can work more-or-less normal hours.

My father is great reader, and he owns practically every history book and history journal and essay collection and biography of note published since 1970. Our family home is a virtual library, with books filling the library and the den and the upstairs study and the living room and the family room and the hallways and all of the bedrooms, even the guest bedrooms. Luckily, my parents bought a very large house when my oldest brother was a baby.

My father is also a great lover of classical music (as is my mother--in fact, they met at a concert of the Minnesota Orchestra). My parents constantly attend orchestral concerts and chamber music concerts, and my father has a near-comprehensive collection of LP's and compact discs, representing practically the entire repertory from Bach to Stockhausen.

My father has been and is friends with many, many great musicians, some of whom now have passed. Many of these musicians have been dinner or overnight guests in our home, and I sometimes regret that I was too young to appreciate my contacts with great persons now gone.

My father loves to watch college basketball and college football, and he has still not decided--even after all these years as a Minnesotan--whether the Iowa Hawkeyes or the Minnesota Golden Gophers are his favorite team.

My father has been a perfect parent to his three sons--and I am sure that all three of us boys absolutely drove him nuts while we were growing up--and he has been a perfect husband to my mother. His love for all of us is unconditional and unlimited.

My father is a big, strapping guy. At 6'1", I am the shorty in the family, because my father is 6'2" and my older brothers are 6'3" and 6'2". My Dad is also a very, very handsome guy. My Mom says that she fell in love with him, just looking at him across the lobby of the old hall where the Minnesota Orchestra used to hold its concerts before the current concert hall was built. I can fully understand how she felt; my Dad is pretty dazzling.

I love to talk to my Dad. I like to talk to him about everything: politics, religion, sports, art, music, literature, philosophy. I can talk to my Dad for hours and hours and hours until we both lose track of the time, and my mother has to intervene, and tell us it is time for dinner or time for bedtime or time for something else.

My brothers and I are the three luckiest guys on the face of the earth, having been blessed with such a wonderful father.

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