Father’s Day 101: Seven Tips from Seven Pics

I was looking for a Father’s Day picture to put on Facebook today. The upside of cracking a rib last winter while wearing socks on carpeted stairs was pooling all my family photos into a server.  Flipping through them I realized the lessons that can be found from each one.

Jim Walsh was only 57 when we lost him 22 years ago but his love of the moment, his family and a good laugh stay with us each day–and his “dad jokes” were passed down from father to father decades before that term became a household term about five years ago.

1. You’re Needed at Full Strength (No matter how tough your day)

I’ve looked at this picture a hundred times, mostly to see us kids–and to try to remember Katie’s full-sized doll’s … Read More…

The Legacy and Questionable Power of My Father’s Puns

My dad had three puns that were so bad, they were only permitted on his birthday–and one was pretty challenging to employ on June 28th.

Jim Walsh would have been 76 years old today.  He came from a long line of punsters and its with mixed emotions that his grandchildren also subject unsuspecting audiences to his legacy.

At his funeral, 19 years ago, we passed around two leather-bound green books for folks to jot down their favorite memories of my dad, a precurser to the amazing testimonial strings found on Facebook at the passing of a loved one.

My college buddy Dan added two of his favorite groaners from my dad’s visit to campus on his tri-state route, often in the South Bend area selling windshields to … Read More…

The Fading Power of Handwriting: My Dad and Journaling in Northern Michigan

HuffPost_Shared

D-Day was just three months away, but my dad’s Uncle Walt was instead worrying about the folks back home, specifically his sister Laura and her husband.

I didn’t know my grandparents had a rocky marriage, or that they were even separated, until I’d read this folded letter in my grandma’s shoebox.

Sixty years later,  I attended the funeral of Walt and Laura’s youngest brother Jerry in Florida, I had a chance to give the letter to Walt’s children, whom I had never met.   Walt had died thirty-four years earlier and they had never seen their father’s handwriting from a young hand–smooth, and confident.  They … Read More…

Father’s Day Legacy: Jim’s Love of “Now”

I was doing some vital, long-forgotten yard-work in 1995 when my neighbor Beth yelled across the street, “Happy Father’s Day!”

It took me a minute to realize she was talking to me.  Aidan was already a day or two over-due, so officially the greeting was premature.  But I smiled and realized that she was right.  I was in the club.  And someday, if I did things right, my kids would dread that holiday, as much as I did.  Jim Walsh was impossible to buy for and it didn’t help that his birthday fell on June 28th, so we needed to double our futile efforts as soon as school got out.

I have taxing memories of Saturday odysseys through the sporting goods and office-supply aisles of  … Read More…

My Dad’s Tribute Video: Someday I’ll watch this and not lose it…

MomDadWalshDance

It had taken me five years to gather the courage to put this thing together.  I lied to myself and thought I was ready.  I’d converted the wedding video, hauled thirty VHS tapes to school and scanned through all of the footage.  I’d loaded up each segment of my father’s life into pretty little categories:  Dad, Grandpa, Family, Friends.  Each with its own neat chapter on the DVD menu partitioning his life.

Jim Walsh died suddenly in 1997 at the age of 57.  And I’d “been the soldier,” to quote my dad’s Uncle Jerry when I called him with the news.  After a … Read More…