Monday, May 30, 2011


Twenty years ago this evening, I bid my mother and father goodnight on a hot Thursday evening. Little did I know that the next morning, I would only be greeting one of them.

Dad smoked rather prolifically until the time of his first heart attack at the age of 52 on April 15, 1974. Tax Day. Although he quit smoking the damage had already been done to his pulmonary systen, A second heart attack followed in 1983, on, of all days, the Fourth of July. Dad by this time had sold his gas stations and had been working as a mechanic at a local car dealership. I don't quite remember how long he hung on until he retired, or more to the point, had to quit because of his health.

Yes, he taught us all the dad-type things, including how to reasonably play baseball (in spite of my ineptitude, we managed a second place win with our Red Sox team in '69) and some rudimentary golf lessons, including a few tours around the Twin Brook par-3 course, which sat dormant for about a decade before being resurrected into the great teaching facility it is today. But all the health problems that Dad had, mostly with his heart, were not lost on the four younger Mackeys, who have strove to take better care of themselves.

So when Mom told us that "I can't wake your Daddy up" on that hot Friday morning, May 31, 1991, we were at once shocked and unsurprised. Dad had gotten up out of bed in the middle of the night to watch television, but at one point turned off the TV, very neatly put the remote on top of the TV, sat down in the Berkline Rock-A-Lounger chair that was a door prize from "Card Sharks", and slipped peacefully into the next world.

Mom soldiered on for almost another nine years without her beloved "Daddy Dick", as she liked to call him. The profound effect he had on his four children lingers on, twenty years after he left us here to fend for ourselves. Thanks, Dad.

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