A friend who works for John Patrick Publishing, the good folks who publish many of the parish bulletins in the Archdiocese, sent me a poem he wrote about the fine example of his father to mark Father's Day this Sunday.
His father was another of the heroes of the greatest generation, as they have come to be known. The hero-as-dad might be uncommon these days, with TV shows often depicting fathers as bumbling fools. Sure, guys have a way of earning that reputation at times, but most men live lives of humble goodness, devoted to their wives and families without fanfare.
The father of George Gerlach was one of those men. He was not only a hero to his son, but over the years taught George how to love his own wife in the fullest measure, to sacrifice and guide his children with gentle strength, and to be joyful whenever possible.
He Taught Me How to Love My Wife
Dad was a big guy.
He consumed the open area of a doorframe as he passed through.
His presence became the focus though he didn’t wish it to be.
He would brighten up the room with his Big Band smile and got everyone laughing with his one-liners, even if we heard it for the tenth time.
At other times you could hear a pin drop as he LISTENED to your trials, tribulations and concerns, waiting for you to finish, to get it all out… then he would often, without saying a word would have helped you to realize that you just answered your own question or solved your problem just by giving voice to it.
His most potent times of being Dad were just in being present, being there to show he cared or because his wife, his bride, agreed we must go.
He lived for his family, his wife and children. Yet he never minced words or left any doubt who was most important to him after his God. Bernice, his wife, his lover and companion on the journey, mother of his children, yes, but first his wife.
Through the years they would be happy, sad, challenged, stretched, twisted, conflicted, joyous and always busy.
But, make no bones; Dad was loyal, faithful, loving and in love with Mom. They marched as one, some days with different drums but in the end they made beautiful music.
Never afraid to express affection for his wife in front of others, Dad was a man’s man. The hug, the kiss, the knowing glance and yes the pinch under the table brought back visions to Dad of never wanting again to be separated from his girl as he was in the War across the Ocean, of losing the grip of her loving hand.
Being taller than Mom was no problem because he always had her on a pedestal.
This larger than life husband would take his wife in his arms and gracefully whisk her across the dance floor and sing to her with his eyes “ I’ll being loving you always”….
Dad had the grace and humility to laugh, cry, lead the way and ask forgiveness all at the same time.
His pace would slow as he got older, his sore tired legs, feet and heart told him how far he could walk but whatever he could do, even to the end, it was always holding the hand of his lover.
Dad, thank you for teaching me how to love my wife.
I pray that I keep learning from your wonderful life. Happy Fathers Day 2009