Saturday, January 12, 2008

My father

Adrian “Duke” Smith, my father, died on Monday, Jan. 7, after a brief bout with cancer. He was 84.

Dad was passionately involved in my home town—Mountain Lakes, N.J.—as a councilman, mayor, and citizen. Everyone he met felt welcomed and appreciated, and his passing is mourned by many people, young and old. He was a great husband, father, and grandfather, and I feel so lucky to be his son.

He left his best gift to me for last: a true appreciation of what life is really about. For Dad, giving was both the greatest pleasure and the highest good. And I give the most emphasis to the pleasure aspect, because giving to other people—embracing them with his friendship, humor, and love—was Dad’s favorite way of having fun. He loved being with people, laughing and playing games, the feeling of togetherness with family and friends. He wasn’t afraid to be silly or tender or sentimental. He was also a lifelong liberal, and he taught me the values of honesty, understanding, and generosity that are the hallmarks of true liberalism.

I slept in his room at our old house the night before I flew back home. In the morning, I picked up what I thought were my shoes, to put them on. But they were his shoes. And it occurred to me that I could never fill them.

Thank you, Dad, for showing me the way. Your love will always be with me.

6 comments:

Shaun said...

Sincere condolences, Chris. It's said that a man never quite grows up while his father lives. I've found a lot of truth in that since my own Dad passed some years ago. It changes the world somehow.

You're Dad sounds like a guy my Dad would have liked hanging out with. Again, my thoughts are with you tonight.

Chris Dashiell said...

Thanks, Shaun. Your kind words mean a lot to me.

fairlane said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your father Chris.

It appears he taught you well.

Tom K said...

Sorry to hear about the death of your father Chris.

My father is still in my thoughts and feelings, 29 years after this death.

Tom K. in VA

donna said...

Condolences...

Take care.

Mauigirl said...

So sorry to hear of the passing of your dad. My thoughts are with you and your family.