Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eulogy for My Father

Nothing, but nothing, was more important to Dad than his girls. And we knew it. He made sure we knew it. He and Mom made us their number ones. Not even one two and three. We were all his number ones. There's no quantifying his love for our Mother. You might think 62 years of marriage says it all, but it really doesn't. You can't put words to the depth of his devotion,( their mutual admiration and the example of love everlasting.) That they got married on Thanksgiving is apt. And though we were each supposed to be named Jonathan, he thrilled to have three girls. He instilled in us his thirst for learning and education, an insatiable curiosity, passion for travel, culture, and books, and fierce devotion to and love of family. He may not have produced the physician he was hoping for, but he got two PhDs and an MBA. 

Having Art for a Dad meant we lived in an environment of warmth, humor, conversation and community. We had temple friends and neighborhood friends. The more the merrier. And Dad’s colleagues and their families mingled in. I remember one time coming into the living room where Dad and a bunch of his friends were watching the latest 8mm Open Heart Surgery. I think Mom served banana bread and Sanka to go along. 

 There were road trips every school vacation, everywhere you could go by car or train. We even ventured as far as Mexico City by train. Train travel used to be glamorous. Ever the law abiding citizen, Dad wanted us to play blackjack in our little compartment, but whenever the porter knocked on the door we had to pack up our pennies. No gambling for 12, 10 and 7 year olds. Eventually Dad overcame his fear of flying because his flock had scattered cross country, and he wasn’t about to lose contact. He wanted to see where we lived, what we were doing. He wanted to talk to us about our careers, our plans. He embraced all our husbands, Rob, Barry and Dan and mined them for all the conversation he could. Finally, some men around the house. Not only did he entice them to converse about subjects interesting to him, but he always appreciated the new topics that they brought with them. He was never done learning or exploring.

 Nothing was more wonderful for Arthur than the era of Grandchildren. Sam, Alice, Ruby, Milly, and AnnaLeah. Grandpop loved to hear about their studies, their friends, their interests, their art, their everything. Joan and I never thought we were imposing when we left our kids with the Grandparents. We knew we were doing them a favor. And each of the children’s lives was so enriched in knowing that kind of fiercesome love and appreciation. And, lest we forget, (and we didn’t), his current crop of 4 legged grands, Jacob, Stella, Ari, Nugget, Buffy, Yoyo and Juneau. Never much of an animal lover before, he was an attentive and devoted petter. I never thought I’d see Dad holding his hand out to let a 1000 pound furry friend take a carrot, but we have the picture. 

 A loss like this is unlike any other. We have the unrelenting mourning of never laughing with him again, no more puzzling something with him, no more questioning something and looking it up in the OED, or that internet thing. There was no piece of technology that didn’t flummox him. But he persevered. 
We will miss him more than words can say. We will carry his memory with us daily, and know the bond is never broken. The love will never die. Arthur D. Silk 11/12/1924 - 8/12/2012

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