Category: Family and friends
Fifteen years later and our paths cross again, hard to believe that it's been that long ago since we saw each other last. Fine to know that we remain close friends and can get together so well despite the gaps in time and location.
Been fifteen whole years ago since I last met up with my old university buddy, and lo and behold he will be visiting me this weekend for a fun and relaxing bout of reminiscing about the good old days.
Fifteen years is a long time and there will be much catching up to do I'm sure. We have become older and taken separate paths in life but the bond of friendship keeps us together.
Paths cross here and there.
Three generations of first sons:
Liam (2015), Lennart (1987) and me (1957).
Had he still been alive today, he would have reached the ripe old age of ninety-nine years old. Still hard to believe that he passed away fifteen years ago.
On my drive back home from work this afternoon, I was letting my thoughts ramble away as always and was struck by an interesting insight. Just came up with the idea that when my father was my age now, I was seventeen years old which is forty years ago. Doesn't seem like it was that long ago, but it was. Wouldn't it be even more interesting if forty years ago my father had had a similar insight while he was driving home? On closer inspection of my memory, I am disappointed to realize that this is not possible. My father's father died at the age of fifty years, before my father turned thirty and more than a decade before I was even born. However, it might still have been possible, if things had turned out differently.
Hard to believe that it's been fourteen years ago today that my father passed away. Here is a picture of my Dad and me at the Nut Tree Inn way back in 1964. This was a favorite stop of ours when travelling from our house in Stockton to Giant's baseball games at Candlestick Park which was the old home stadium back in the good days of Willie Mays and company.
Today we packed up all of Sabien's belongings into the car, drove up to Amsterdam and helped her move into her new student apartment.
Although I felt somewhat sad and know I will miss her very much, I am also very happy for her. She is moving on with her life, becoming independent from us and growing quickly into a young woman we are proud of.
She is the third one to move out of the house. Lennart in the west (The Hague), Marlies in the south (Maastricht) and now Sabien in the north (Amsterdam).
Only one more to go, so I will cherish the time with Maarten while I can.
Thirteen years ago today my father passed away. Had he still been alive, he would have reached the ripe old age of ninety-seven. Hope you're doing alright, by now you must have shot your age many times on that eternal golf course up in the sky.
If my father were still alive he would have turned ninety-six today. Hard to believe that he passed away thirteen years ago. I still miss him and think about him once in awhile. Looks like I've been able to carry on the torch pretty well so far.
I was very saddened to learn today that an old buddy of mine had passed away last November without me even knowing about it. Here's an old memory that reminds me of the crazy and fun stuff we used to do together.
When we were living together at the SAE fraternity at Stanford, I bet Steve that he wouldn't dare to drive his VW beetle down a steep muddy hill next to the fraternity house. He accepted the challenge, and I sat next to him smoking my pipe as we courageously went over the edge. Unfortunately, half way down the hill, we went into a skid and slid uncontrollably head on into a thick tree, stuck at a forty-five degree angle. Steve shifted into reverse and attempted to back away from this predicament, but that was impossible and a tow truck had to be called. His favorite vehicle was damaged: the gear box burned out and a huge dent in the front fender. I expected Steve to be very angry at me, but he remained perfectly collected, even commenting calmly about how funny it all was. I felt really stupid and guilty about making him pull such a ridiculous stunt, and insisted on paying for the damages. However, being the great guy that Steve always was, he took it all in stride and paid the garage bill himself.
Good-bye old friend, we will all miss you. You got into medical school and I didn't. Now you beat me to the pearly gates, enjoy.
My youngest of four kids Maarten has passed his driving test with flying colors, and now he's the fourth in line for a driver's license. Congratulations young man.
I figure that in total all kids included the driving lessons alone cost more than six thousand euro's. That's quite an investment I would say, but all part of the job of being parents these days. A worthwhile investment.
Before I realize it, he will also be bugging me to use the car to go out, pick up on girls, and terrorize traffic.
I'm sure glad that phase is now finally all over with.
Could it be that my father passed away twelve years ago already? Sometimes I think not, but at the same time I still cannot believe it and have learned long ago to accept it. When I looked at the calendar this morning, I was struck by the fact that the time had passed by so quickly. Yes indeed, twelve years ago it has been.
He was forty years old when I was born, so that means that had he still been living today he would have been ninety-five years old. That's pretty old. I wonder how many holes in one he would have collected by now, had he lived that much longer.
The many memories of my father still remain very fresh in my mind, like it was just yesterday. I guess he had a pretty important influence on the making of the person I am right now, but that is not everything. Cussing and yelling often enough, sure. But also giving me advice, displaying integrity and honesty, and telling me what I might want to do in life.
Playing golf with him, driving in his big Cadillac, going to see the Giants play in Candlestick Park, waking up in the middle of the night because of his cursing and complaining, having a quick dinner in front of the television waiting for the Monday Night football to start, it's all part of what I am all about.
My goal in life is to have as many holes-in-one as my father, he had somehow collected nine beauties. However, since I have none so far that may take some time. Something to look forward to in life.
During my university days back in the late seventies, I would often take a short break from my student life and visit my aunt Jeanine who lived just across the bay. It was only about a forty minute drive.
These were evenings of long conversations, philosophical discussions and general chatting about nothing in particular. My worries and insecurities would become soothed by her soft voice and kind face.
One occasion in particular has stuck clearly in my mind for some reason, and when I think of Jeanine I am always reminded of that fleeting moment.
Evening had set in and we were relaxing in the dark living room in front of the fireplace, sitting directly across from each other. Jeanine was discussing something esoteric having to do with Eastern philosophy, I do not remember exactly about what, and I was almost entranced by her words.
Jeanine was sitting with her back to the fireplace and as she spoke the flames danced behind her, mimicking her words and gestures.
To make her point clear, she ended her sentence with a snap of her fingers. Just like that. At the exact same instant she did that, snap, the topmost log in the fireplace burst open with a muffled explosion and a spark shot up into the air.
I flinched slightly and blinked my eyes. Jeanine reacted to her sudden feat of coordinated magic but seemed unimpressed. With a smile and a nod of her head she acknowledged her spiritual powers, as if this was nothing exceptional and happened to her all of the time.
Someday in the not so distant future we will meet up again. I wonder if she will still remember that moment in time and how impressed I was.
My father passed away exactly eleven years ago to this day. Eleven has always been my lucky number and was also the number in green on the back of my baseball jersey when I played shortstop for Ghent Motors. Today also marks the fifth birthday of our dog Luca who is a brown Labrador Retriever, making her thirty-five years old in human years. The last time I left the hospital where my father lay dying, the sunlight reflected so brightly from the cement sidewalk that it hurt my eyes; I had to turn my despondent head sideways and look the other way. In the meantime, it is slowly but surely getting colder outside as winter approaches with bursts of icy winds. Eleven is also the day of the month and the minutes past the hour on which I was born. The golfing season will return again next year as always meaning that this is a time of smooth patience and spiritual awakening.
Had my father still been living today, he would have been ninety-four years old, believe it or not. Happy birthday dear Dad!
He hasn't been around now for more than ten years, and to think of all those things in life that he has missed out on. I have also missed him very much, as he was a big influence in my life and helped make me the person I am today.
Dad and me (1964).
I was looking through some old pictures of mine and noticed that at my age my father and I looked very much alike. While our personalities might not be a perfect match, we do share many interesting traits and have other idiosyncrasies in common, for better and for worse.
Well, see you around some day Old Champ. We can have a fun round again at the golf course in the sky just like old times. I get to drive the cart this time and you can call me Sweet Swatter as always.
One after the other it lasted on and on and now it is nearly twelve thirty. After two and a half hours I can finally take my shower.
Sometimes as a father of four kids it's important you have alot of patience.
Now they are going steady, his first official girlfriend. Two days ago I went into the hobby room and caught them watching television holding hands. Rumor has it that he has even kissed her (on the cheek), but who knows for sure
Now he bought her a nice Valentine's present and went to her house this evening to give her the gift before she leaves for a one week vacation. There Maarten was in the shower for nearly an hour (c'mon you've been in there long enough get out), singing songs and laughing to himself, spraying tons of aftershave and cologne, putting gobs of gel in his hair and combing it just right. Clothes have to look perfect and then off he goes.
I never had a girlfriend at such an early age. Even when I had a crush on someone, I was too shy and preferred to study and read books all of the time.
Vicarious thrills through the daring endeavors of my masterful sons.
Oh by the way, here's some extra cash (5 euros) in case you meet up with a cute girl and want to impress her by buying her a drink.
Maarten is thankful and notes that when I was his age (14) I was a nerd and too shy and never dared to hang around with girls let alone dance with them and buy them drinks.
He remembers most of the things I tell him and is very alert, even if it is slightly painful for me to hear my own words repeated by my ever popular 14 year old pickup artist son.
So let's see then, since my father was always exactly forty years older than I was, that would have made him ninety-one years old had he survived to this day. Ninety-one, that sounds pretty darn old I'd say.
Although I did not feel that way at the time, in the long run it's probably better that he passed away when he did. Nature had planned it that way.
That torch he had passed over to me way back then is still being held high, and because of this meaningful gift, I am able to carry on to this very day.
Now that Lennart has decided to live at home again he has taken over his old room which I had conveniently converted into my working room and library.
Right now there are piles of books spread all over the floor of our sleeping room, which is not the best solution but at least they are readily accessible when I require them as reference.
Looks like my adventurous daughter is having lots of fun in Australia. Traveling so far away while still young is not easy, but as you can tell from the picture below, she's making the best of it. In a couple months she'll be back.
My children and wife keep insisting that our wonderful dog Luca is really really smart and can do all these amazing acts of intelligence. However, I have my serious doubts. She's an okay dog, but she's no super dog that's for sure.
When she is naughty, like when she keeps coming up to sniff my food, lick my plate or pounce at me bashing her sharp paws against my back and side, I raise my voice and say out loud: NO!
I even do the so-called ignore trick where by turning your back to her you are instilling more emotional pain by 'shaming her' that they say that the effect works wonders. I see no difference, as Luca keeps coming back again and again to bug me, until I have to lock her up as punishment. This does not seem too smart to me.
Also when she keeps guard in front of the living room window and sees a bug or spider or other insect on the other side of the glass, she'll keep jumping at it and banging her poor snout against the hard glass surface, again and again without learning. This does not seem too smart to me either.
The other day just for fun my wife bought this big dog puzzle made of sliding wooden panels behind which you can hide tasty treats. The idea is that by sliding these panels back and forth with the paw, the dog learns the gist of the puzzle so that it can instantly snatch up the hidden tasty treats without thinking.
It's been two weeks now, and I am sorry to admit that our dog still hasn't figured it out. Poor Luca gets all frustrated and panics by biting, jumping and sniffing wildly with zero affect.
I think I have proven my point. Mice are a hundred times smarter.
Today our little Luca is one human year old which is equivalent to seven dog years.
Perhaps it might make more sense and be fairer to the dogs out there to celebrate each and every real dog year, as this is surely more meaningful to the dog.
For humans however this is pretty unpractical, and sorry but the master wins.