Father’s Day 2018

Volcsko/Volocko Men December 2008

I woke up on this beautiful Father’s Day morning thinking about my grandfather who passed away in 2008. He was a child of immigrants, his father was born in Czechoslovakia and his mother Hungry. He fought in the Korean War, and spent most of his life working in the cemetery where I spent much of my childhood and teenage years.

I’m aware of his many failings and struggled mightily. He was not a nice man, some have described him as evil. He was an alcoholic. He was violent to those around him, including his wife and kids, and in all likelihood suffered from mental illness.

He had a presence about him when he walked into a room. Depending on your perspective – or time of day – it was respect or fear. You knew when he walked into a room, even if you didn’t know him.

It’s sad to say, but as the person I have become, I don’t think I would associate myself with him. It’s not that I think I’m better than he was, it’s that I came to learn just how severe his transgressions were.

Some things you can’t just simply forgive then forget.

However, as the child I was, he instilled in me important values that made me the person I am today. You see, his struggles and transgressions have become family legend, but so have his work ethic, problem solving, grit and tenacity.

He never had much, which, looking back, was by design. But he knew how to get the most out of what he did have. I remember him working long days, sometimes through the night to get the job done.

No matter what the obstacle was, he would always figure out a solution.

That’s what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I know it’s hard to look past the bad that people do. But as a child I was too young to understand everything else. I could only see the good in people.

On this Father’s Day, 10 years after my grandfather’s death, this is what’s on my mind. I’m thinking about the fathers and grandfathers who shaped me and how they are shaping the lives of my children.

And it makes me wonder, how am I shaping the lives of my children and, if we’re so fortunate, their children?

You can probably guess that my grandfather was a bit of a recluse, so I don’t have many pictures of him. The only one I could find was from Christmas 2006, just after my youngest son, Charlie, was born.

If memory serves, this was the last times I saw him before his passing.

Me, my two sons, Elijah and Charlie, my dad (standing), Randall, and my grandfather, Andrew.


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