Give It All You Got: Remembering a Super Dad

Listening to a little jazz, working through the usual chores, thinking about my dad this particular weekend.

Two years ago everything changed. Two years ago on Super Bowl Sunday at around six in the morning, my dad passed away.

Nothing terribly tragic about this situation: my father lived a long time, was successful as an educator and coach, and gave us a pretty fantastic life growing up (biased noted).

He and my mother were married to the end, through the usual ups and downs of 50-plus years of marriage; he took care of her the last 20 years of his life after she had a disabling stroke.

Certainly that life-changing health event changed the trajectory of their lives. That said, they made the best of it, and lived a comfortable existence with modest adventures, and plenty of time with family and friends.

My dad had his own stroke two years before he died; that event saw them move to an assisted living environment. Those last two years were personally challenging for me; but again, nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to elder care and management. Nonetheless, it was emotionally draining, right up through to the end. Knowing it was the circle of life made it easier on my head, but my heart still struggled. And my heart still struggles today. I miss him.

So on this two year anniversary weekend of his death, I’m listening to one of the musicians my dad introduced me to — Chuck Mangione — and I’m remembering the many good times I had with my dad; I recall some of the lessons he taught me, and the fondness he had for others, and for music. I think about his love of sports, and as the San Francisco Forty-Niners play in the Super Bowl LIV (54), imagine how excited he would have been for the game.

And one of the songs from this Mangione playlist stands out in particular for me: “Give It All You Got.” My dad had that sorta attitude; it’s certainly the attitude he instilled in me. And he might have that advice to the Niners as they line up against the Kansas City Chiefs: “Give it all you got, play the best you can, and leave it all on the field.”

Remembering dad, remembering what he taught me, and honoring him this weekend. “Give it all you got.”

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