This is not an entry in honor of Australia Day.
This is an entry to announce that it's been exactly 2 years since my father passed away.
For the last 24 hours, I've been stuck in flashbacks...."it was 2 years since I last talked to my dad." "It was 2 years since my mom called at 3AM (yes, I actually woke up at that time) to say that the hospital called and dad took a turn for the worse and she was going to drive up and see him." "It was 2 years since my brother called to tell me that dad died."
Every one of those minutes I relived. I would stare at the clock, waiting for that exact anniversary to pass, my stomach tightening up.....except for early this morning when something made me wake up and look at the clock, seeing it was 3AM, and collapsing back in a restless sleep.
In some ways, my dad's death brought about some positives. It brought me closer to my aunt, his sister. It certainly made my younger brother and I closer. It made me more aware of the importance of life insurance. It made me more aware of the nighttime sky (he was an astronomer). And it made me aware that I will never get a second chance to experience my childrens' childhood.
Here is my dad in happier, younger times. He's the kid here. Probably in the early to mid 1940's.
And here's my father at his graduation from Pomona College. He's on the far left. Those 4 guys are all recipients of National Defense Education Act scholarships, which was a result of a mad push to increase the number of scientists in the space and defense industries, in order to beat the Soviets. My dad was one of the earliest recipients of this scholarship. What you're looking at is a photo of probably the brightest scientific minds our country could produce in the early 60's. Literally, a group of rocket scientists.
However, with all that knowledge about our universe, the ability to figure out how to mathematically put a missile in space and land it on Moscow (or the moon), my father chose instead to teach his love of Astronomy to 2 generations of college students, and devote countless hours to the field of amateur astronomy. And not only that, my father (the consummate "nerd") learned the sports of baseball and soccer and worked as a volunteer in both sports for decades.
In short, my father was not impressive because of what he knew. He was impressive because of how much he loved teaching others what he knew.
And because of his passion for teaching, I can look anyone in the eye and say that I've never electrocuted myself while installing a light fixture. Everything else he's ever taught me was just gravy (and if you've ever felt the sweet sweet joy of 120 volts coursing through your body, you'd understand the value of such a lesson).