By Mark Bradbury
Hello everyone! There are lots of things going on in June; it is a busy month. In the Northern Hemisphere, where many of us grew up, June is the first true sign of summer. The leaves have filled out the trees, gardens are flourishing, flowers are blooming, and the grass has probably been growing a lot more than you would like to see! The weather has probably warmed up, but the heat of July and August is just around the bend. It is usually a time to enjoy before the oppressive humidity and heat really settle in.
It is also the best time to hold ceremonies outdoors. It’s a huge month for weddings, and there are countless graduations from every level of education, for every child you have ever heard of. It’s also the month that people everywhere roll out their barbecue grills and get serious about cooking out again. It’s sort of a summer kickoff, and it’s a month filled with lifetime memories for many of us.
And right there in the middle of it all is Father’s Day! It’s our designated day to be celebrated once a year, and it’s usually a fun day for most of the dads I know. It’s when we spend time with our fathers, or remember them with fond stories, or we just sit back and enjoy being the dad for the day. Everyone has stories to tell about their father, and this day is usually an enjoyable time to hear them all. Cookouts, family time, and maybe a good baseball game! Those are my memories growing up; I’m sure you have yours.
My father passed away a couple of years ago at 92. He had lived a long life, certainly longer than he had ever anticipated, and he was ready to move on peacefully. He was one of the earlier casualties of our recent pandemic, dying from Covid-19 just a few days after becoming infected in his nursing home. He did not go peacefully, and for those of us who loved him, his very painful death left us all stunned. It was a sad way to remember him. He was a very strong, humble man for his entire life, and being unable to fight back anymore must have driven him crazy. But he is at peace now, and we all have our memories.
My father was the oldest of thirteen kids and came from a long line of hardy New England stock. But, for him, his legacy was something he did not exactly embrace. His paternal grandfather had died when he was in his early 60’s, and his father also died in his early 60’s. My dad was convinced that was what was in store for him.
When he was in his late 50’s he started talking to me about his pending demise. He felt that he would not make it out of his 60’s, either, and he needed to make sure I knew what he wanted to happen if that occurred. He had a major heart attack at 64 and ended up having a quadruple bypass, which he recovered nicely from. He later had several stints put into his veins, and he had a pacemaker installed a couple times during his 80’s, but nothing slowed him down. He got up on his tractor and mowed the large yard he had, he tended to his vegetable garden like he had for many years, and he did whatever was needed to do on his property. He lived another 28 years after his cardiac event, and he did very well with most everything.
He was proof positive that if you wanted to be alive you had to work at it and stay strong. I’m hoping that I have another twenty years left on this blue marble, because I have a little girl on the way who will join us sometime in August. I’m counting on her to keep me young for a while, doing all the “kid things” with her as she grows up here in Manta. I’ve only got a couple of months left to be an old fart, so I need to get that out of my system now!
For those of you wondering about Father’s Day in Ecuador, I assure you that it is celebrated here. It is a universal day of celebration across the world, and Ecuadorian families do the same sorts of things that we all do in the U.S. or Canada. Family gatherings, soccer games, lots of food; all things that make up the local day for our friends and neighbors here.
It was not very commercial here for many years, but like everything else, that has changed. Following the economic crash that the pandemic brought on, the businesses that made it through have been aggressively promoting their products and services that might be of interest to the dads. It’s a good sign for us; economic revival is particularly important for all of us living in Ecuador, and anything that can boost sales and profits for the businesses is a good thing!
For all of you who are fathers out there, and for all our fathers who have passed on, I want to wish you a very happy Father’s Day! Or, as we say here in Ecuador....
¡Feliz Día del Padre!