They say laughter is the best medicine. I think they are right. I grew up in a house of laughter. It wasn’t always funny, but we laughed a lot.

My Dad had a quick wit and was master of the bad joke. He made me laugh, even while groaning, every time. He was a marine and could never give up the flat top. As a result he went to the barber once a week. The standing joke about that. “Dad, did you get a haircut?”, with the standard reply “nope, I got ’em all cut”.

I miss my Dad. He’s been gone for 11 years. He was a short, round, guy (with a crew cut), that nobody wanted to mess with. He was fiercely loyal and proud of his family and Scottish heritage. He was philanthropic too. He gave a lot of his time to his favorite organizations, the Masons and The Shriners, raising money to support the Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia. He loved to be with people (maybe that’s why they had 5 kids). Whether playing cards with friends, bowling in a league with my Mom, square dancing, he was down.  My parents hosted a New Years eve party for many years and my Dad took turns with one of his friends dressing as Father time and the New Years Baby. It was hysterical.

He was retired by the time my kids came along, and we would go and visit them for a couple of weeks in the summer. He would take my kids to the dents and bents store looking for a bargain and to the “sale”, a flea market where he was a regular, twice a week. They always came home with a treasure. They loved to hang out with their Grandpa. He said funny things like, “do you want a happle (an apple) or an Australian muffin?” (English muffin). And he always called the dog the wrong name. Zoe was Chloe.  And the dogs were big fans of Grandpa too. He always saved all of them a little bite of his Australian muffin with peanut butter.

Dad was a man with a strong faith. When he received his cancer diagnosis, he took it better than the rest of us.  He also opted to forgo the Interferon therapy that was offered him. He didn’t want to be sick if he only had a short time to live. They told him 5 years. He lived another 4 years and 9 months. And 4 1/2 of those years he was relatively well.  He always lived life on his terms. And he died on his terms too.  At home, with his wife and kids surrounding him.

My Dad was a role model to me on many levels.  And I ask for his guidance almost daily. Because I know he is around. And I know he is proud of me. Living life on my terms. Because it’s my life. And life is short.

For Dad…Two bacteria walk into a bar. The bartender says, “We don’t serve bacteria here.” And the bacteria says, “But we work here. We’re staph. Sorry bad nursing humor!

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