If he had lived, my father would be 71 years old today.
He died at 42.
Yes, his eyes were as twinkly as this picture, and his smile was as mischievous. At his funeral, the church overflowed with people from every walk of life. One image that is burned in memory is of Songbird's tiny lady-like grandmother waiting in line to get in the church next to next to group of young basketball players my dad had befriended.
My dad was a small town lawyer, a general practitioner who took almost every kind of case in his early career. (For the blessedly short time he took criminal and divorce cases, we were not permitted to answer our home phone.) Almost every time I visit my hometown, I meet someone who knew him, someone with a story of a time he was kind to them or helped them through a difficult time. He was funny and smart, and somehow he managed to have both high standards and many friends.
My daughter will graduate from college on Sunday. I wish he were here to see her. He would be so proud.