Theodore Paul Chwazik
8/24/1916-11/30/2012

That’s right. 96.

  1. Family is everything. We have the best.

Surprise 40th anniversary party. May 1986.

Surprise 40th anniversary party. May 1986.
Click the image for a larger size.

That’s the most important and that’s enough. Who needs more?

And yet, of course there is more. But it can’t be ordered or numbered after #1; Family.

Lead by example. Rare, if any, were the “son, sit down I’ve got something important to tell you” lessons. Well, except for perhaps Family; we certainly heard enough times over blessings and the dinner table at family gatherings.

Do good. Be honorable. Work hard. Keep your word. Help that driver stuck in the snow. Offer your seat to and open doors for women and your elders. Acknowledge passersby. (He wasn’t my Mr. Friendy for just no reason.) But don’t dare do any of this seeking praise. It’s a Greatest Generation thing.

Be generous with your time, skills, and abilities. Growing up through the Great Depression (Dad, not me!), sometimes your didn’t have much in the way of material goods, so you learned to be generous with whatever you had, even if it’s your own blood. I think I heard someone say Dad gave over 8 gallons!

Do your best. Try your best. Don’t be afraid to try new things or to figure things out for yourself. Push that button on the escalator to find out what happens.

Have fun. Don’t sweat the small stuff. For that matter, don’t sweat the big stuff. There’s no use in worrying. Have a shot and a beer.

Say “I love you.” Say “Good morning”. Say “Good night.” Give your spouse a kiss when you come home from work. Be generous with hugs and kisses. Blow kisses from the window and say goodbye. Yeah, it’s a Family thing.

Fly the flag. At least on holidays, if not more. OK?

Never pass up a chance to hold a baby. Play and snuggle with those little ones. Get right down on the floor with them. Let ’em comb and even cut your hair. Yeah, it’s a Family thing.

John Wayne made good movies.

Laugh.

Cry.

Love.

Gosh this was the hardest thing I’ve ever written.

Yet also the easiest.