Today is my father's birthday. He would be 94 if he were alive. He died ten years ago. Several years later, after my mother's death, I found the planning calendar she had used in 2001. March 13, the day of his death was scratched out with black ink - she went over and over the March 13 square, pressing her pen down hard. They were married for 62 years. I wrote about my mother in May.
Using today's idiom, my father was a "hands on" guy. He taught me ride a bike, to sail, to throw a ball and all the other things a kid needed to know. He laced my skates on the coldest days when we skated on the frozen creek by our house. He never seemed to be cold. He read what I wrote and improved it with his suggestions. For thirty years we spoke on the phone each Sunday and talked about the books we had read. He lured me to read from his library. When he was weakened by poor lungs at the end of his life, I organized those books for him so he could look over them and recall what he could no longer read.
Today's dads can use training wheels to help their children learn to ride. In our day, Dad ran along side holding the seat of my bike. He kept me balanced until he could feel that I could make it alone, and then he let go. He was my training wheels in so many ways.