Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Dad

In honor of Father's Day I sat down too write a post about my father, John Francis Lyons, who died in 1997 at the age of 78.  I figured it would be easy since he had such a strong impact on me; but I find I'm struggling.  In my memories the things that made him such a awesome Dad stretch across the years into a web that defines the shape of my youth but is made of such fine thread I can't find any single anecdote or story that does the man justice.

I can tell you this.  

Everyone called him Jack.  I don't think I ever heard someone call him John, my mother included.

He was whip smart, a lot smarter than me.  He was a poor Cambridge kid who got a full boat  R.O.T.C. scholarship to M.I.T.  Graduated class of 41. He spent WWII in Panama defending the canal.  

Even at a young age he had white/gray hair piercing blue eyes.  Women always commented that he looked like Henry Fonda.

He loved to sail, hike and ski and dragged the family all over the place doing all those things.   I was skiing by age 3 and hiked Mt Washington at age 6.  He was a pretty darn good Tennis player too.  When I was a teenager and playing a lot he would almost always win our matches.  What he lacked in speed and agility he more than made up for in wiles.

As we all grew older he cherished family dinners.  He would keep us sitting around the table, way past meals end,  filling our wine glasses and telling stories.  All my siblings continue this tradition with their families.  As a group we don't see each other that often but whenever we do we always have a great time around the dinner table. 

He wasn't a perfect man (who among us can claim that honor?)  but he was a great Dad and I sure do miss him.
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