Nov.14 – My father had fourteen brothers and sisters. Seven boys and seven girls made up this raucous family. Times were never easy for them during the depression and the times that followed shortly after. One son was lost in the second world war and I’m named after him.
My father was the second oldest and all of them went to work at an early age due to circumstances beyond their control. They were all hard workers and talented in many different ways. The boys built a house for their parents from scratch when money was very hard to come by. Unemployed men would walk by the site and ask for work, but my father and his family had no money to pay them and they had already had plenty of hands available just in their immediate family.
They all fought the same demon however. They couldn’t pass up a drink of alcohol and they could never handle it or its consequences. It’s a genetic thing, I’m sure of that.
My parents owned more than one bar in my early life and those were interesting and challenging times for a young boy and his family. I have many tales from those days, and I am writing a book about those days in my past. Those days made me who I am today. I am glad for those days now, but back then I wished for a different life altogether. It changed slowly over time as my father worked out whatever problems he was dealing with. It just took him fifty years or so to figure them out.
We are all marked by our parents behavior, good or bad. I learned a lot from my father and mother. I learned to work hard and be as honest as possible in business and in life. I learned to try to figure things out on my own and to fix things that I could. I learned that wishing doesn’t make it so.
My father taught me many wonderful things. He taught me several trades which I used to become moderately successful and he taught me to be kind. But most importantly, he taught me that we all have limitations and we must work around them.
He eventually learned that he could not drink. He taught me that from a very early age and I understand that I cannot drink. He did me many favors, but the most important lesson he taught me was to know your short comings and your limitations.
Reach for the stars, but don’t be dissatisfied if you just become a man who takes care of his family and can be trusted.