August 11, 2020

Dad would have been 102 today.

He was 80 when he died so he wasn’t around for 9/11, the war on terror, the war in Afghanistan, or the Great Recession of 2008.

He never had a chance to experience America’s first African American president.

He missed the full bloom of the Internet and HDTV and Skype, all of which I’m sure he would have loved.

He was a gun safety instructor for the National Rifle Association but I can only surmise he would have been appalled by the NRA’s politicization, Second Amendment hysteria, and multi-million dollar corruption. He was a gun owner but I think he would have been profoundly disturbed by the proliferation of military-style automatic weapons that are employed almost daily to kill thousands of innocent people.

I think he would have understood that Black Lives Matter is a quest for justice.

I think he would have grasped that Colin Kaepernick knelt during the National Anthem to call attention to police attacks on African Americans, not to scorn the flag.

He was a loyal Republican voter but his notion Republicanism was personified by Ike, Rocky, Javits, and the Gipper. I don’t have to use my imagination to know beyond doubt he would have been a NeverTrumper. Dad knew a con man when he saw one.

And of course Dad is missing the COVID-19 pandemic. He was an introvert so I don’t think he would have minded sheltering in place, watching nature shows on a wide-screen HDTV television, sipping his Mount Vernon whiskey, smoking his briar Kaywoodie.

But that is a – shall we say – pipe dream. And who’s to say he hasn’t matriculated to more desirable edification, smiling down on us – or, as George Carlin suggested – UP at us, as we go about life’s petty pace from day to day.

Suffice it to say we have missed him over the complicated decades that have ensued since his passing. My thoughts turn to him especially at this time of year when his birthday approached and he would wave away our efforts to get him to a good restaurant to celebrate. His idea of a good restaurant was Denny’s.

Those who didn’t know Elmore can gain an appreciation for what made him who he was by re-reading his war diary. Even now I find it incredible what he and so many of his generation endured without complaint.

Thanks for your service, Dad. And we won’t forget you.