“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…”
William Shakespeare’s As You Like It
Recently my father-in-law, my friend, Ike passed away. I previously wrote about Ike in my musing, Planning a Pity Party? (http://latenightmusings.com/planning-pity-party/ ). He was suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease (the big A). It makes no difference which is diagnosed; both are equally fatal.
But this is not a sad musing but rather a joyous one for the man that I knew Ike to be. He was first and foremost a faithful husband. He and Marilyn, his wife, had been married for 62 years. That is six decades, over half a century of marriage. In this day and age there are few, if any men, or women for that matter, who will celebrate their 62nd anniversary with the same woman or man to whom they are married.
Secondly, Ike was a father and a role model. Ike and Marilyn have seven children – all alive and all as close-knit as any seven siblings can be. Five are married. All seven are clear products of Ike. He was a soft-spoken man, a God-fearing man, and those traits have been passed down to his children. Talk to any of them and they happily recall their youth and Ike’s role in it. He swam in the pond with them, skated on that same frozen pond with them, joked with them, played tricks on them and relished them. They were his pride and joy. Family pictures and vivid memories document the kind and loving father he was.
He had the same loving relationship with his grandchildren. Speak to any of them and they will gladly tell you of the love they had for their grandfather, Papa. Each has special memories as they recall that pillar of strength. He always was there for them.
Finally there was Ike the man. He was a hardworking man; he had to be to provide for a family of eight. He worked on a farm in upstate New York and in the Reynolds Metal pot room, both back breaking jobs.
He took pride and joy in every vehicle he owned and his last, a Pontiac Bonneville, was his pride and joy. That car sparkled, inside and out, and even under the hood.
He loved watching sports – baseball being his favorite. Not far behind was hockey. Many was the time his slipper was tossed at the TV screen for a perceived poor play.
The words I offer as a tribute to the man I came to know some sixteen years ago fail to do justice to the man he was. A faithful husband, a loving father, a doting grandfather, a man I had the privilege of knowing. Rest in peace Ike. You did well and your legacy continues.