He was the first person to tell me I drank too much. I rolled my eyes every time, which was often, that he'd announce the best day of his wife was when he met my Mother. He was so proud of his cement mixer and the modest houses he and his brother built that I think he infused some of that pride from work into my veins. Before he died, he told me was sure he would see his Mother again and he asked me to make two promises. First he asked me to return to the Catholic Church and second he asked me to take care of his dahlias.
I couldn't bring myself to rejoin the church and although I tried the dahlias died. I imagined I would carry a certain guilt about one or both of those unfulfilled promises but I never did. My father died at home in his own bed and on the day he died I stopped being afraid of dying. My memory is that my Mother told him he could go and my Father left us escorted by his own Mother.
Happy Father's Day, Dad. I turned out to be honest and hardworking too and I've done my best to help Mom. I think you would be proud of me and I thank you for teaching me the most important things simply by how you lived and by how you died.