Happy Birthday, Dad!

Vic-Bookjacket.jpgToday, July 2nd would have been my father’s 98th birthday and not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. Every day, something flashes through my mind, across the computer screen or on TV that makes me, just for an instant, think I should call dad. But I can’t. He’s been gone a little over a year and a half and it doesn’t yet seem real. How can someone so huge in life, so forceful, so robust, so devoted to the betterment of the world no longer be around, fighting the good fight? It’s not fair. The world is a poorer place.
That said, his progeny and grand progeny are carrying on his legacy as best we can. We’re not a large family by most standards but what there is of us is pretty special in that there are really no “black sheep” in the family, politically speaking. You hear about apples falling far from the tree but we’re all clustered around the trunk.
Dad was an amazing man by almost any measure. He stuck to his principles even when doing so cost him his place at the law firm he had built for 40 odd years. He was a defense attorney who specialized in civil rights, labor and international law and counted Dr. Benjamin Spock, Dashiell Hammett (dad referred to him as “Dash”), Jimmy Hoffa as clients and friends and was a frequent chess partner of Che Guevara. He represented the government of Cuba, Papandreou’s Greece, Angola and the Nicaraguan mission to the United States under Ortega, among others. He defended countless nameless teachers, union workers and anti-war demonstrators though the McCathy 50’s, the 60’s and the anti-Vietnam War 70’s with courage and conviction, although many were pro bono and none brought him fame or fortune. He was truly an inspiration.
He and mom dragged me around the world as a kid and as such, gave me my wanderlust but I think he was happiest digging in the garden of our house in East Hampton. Summer, winter, hot or cold, you could find dad in East Hampton every weekend and most holidays. If it was too hot or too cold to work in the garden he just sat on the couch and read or on the deck and watched the squirrels try and get at the bird feeders. I think he would be very happy that I’ve moved out here. I don’t have my feeders up yet, but I will. There will be seed in the summer and suet in the winter and if I can help it, the neighbor’s cat won’t get any of my birds or rabbits. Dad protected his birds, too.
Happy birthday, dad. I miss you.

One thought on “Happy Birthday, Dad!”

  1. I miss him too. He was a profoundly decent man with a super big brain. And he was always sweet with us even when we were little delinquents. Happy birthday, Victor.
    -Josh R

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