Sunday, June 15, 2014

With alacrity and perspicacity

Might this commentary be written with cheerful readiness and a clarity of vision that provides deep understanding? In my father’s latter years alacrity and perspicacity were his two favorite words that he used at every opportunity. I think of my father today, just my second Father’s Day without one.

I will be forever grateful for the role model provided by my father. I do not take this lightly as I know many spend a lifetime in conflict over emotional damage and expectations laid down by a parent. He was not a cheerleader who thought his children could do no wrong but he was supportive of paths we chose that were quite different from his own.

 He was a conscientious objector to WWII. He never struck me. He worked quietly for social justice in personnel at the American Friends Service Committee.

By most measures he was not overly successful or particularly accomplished. He was a good tennis player and a good singer. He did not seek or make a large circle of friends. Having outlived most of his peers he will soon be forgotten.

But when he died a tearful nurse’s aide said to a member of the family, “He was the nicest man I ever met.” What an epitaph. To me this is something to aspire to. To have someone, anyone, say this about you when you are gone. That would be a life well lived.

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