Twenty years ago today my father died from complications of multiple myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow. He battled and suffered the disease and its treatments for nearly five years, if memory serves. When he died he was only seventy years old; he'd have turned ninety-one this year had he survived.

I think of my father often, perhaps daily. I'm reminded of him by Calvin's blue eyes and long, skinny legs.

The masses of rhododendrons I've planted in my garden are there because of my father's love of the shrubs, banks of which flanked my childhood home and which Dad and I used to prune and dead-head together.

I think of Dad whenever friends bring me homemade applesauce—one of Dad's specialties that filled the house with the sweet aroma of cinnamon and that he liked to serve warm over vanilla ice cream. I, like he, have a fondness for sun on my shoulders, for gardening, eating dessert, camping, walking on the beach, and making wisecracks at every opportunity.

Dad seemed drawn to those unlike him; he had friends of all ages, races and religions. I take after him in that regard, too. And though raising six kids was stressful considering his modest income, Dad seemed to like kids and enjoyed coaching for many years. He was very affectionate with me. No doubt Dad would've loved cuddling with his grandson, Calvin.

I miss you, Dad. You were one of the good ones. It's really too bad you had to leave us so soon.

Me and my dad, circa 1965

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