My father would have celebrated his 127th birthday yesterday, March 23.
With his background in broadcasting and passion for international communication, he would be quite a fan of the internet. He'd revel in all the technological gadgets that abound. A cell phone with all its applications, super digital camera, and a huge screen for sports viewing would attract his attention.
Inspite of the ease of access to news, he might feel frustrated by the sensationalism and inaccuracies of the media. Current politics would cause some frustration. I doubt he’d feel surprised at the state of international relations. Even though the world has war and troubles, he'd have faith in possibilities. He'd believe in ideas, advancements and the development of new institutions.
What fun it would be to bring him back for a day.
I’d take him to breakfast at my favorite café overlooking the Pacific Coast, so he could observe the sea and its creatures. We’d order a jelly and cheese omelette and have half grapefruits to start. Multi-grain toast and boysenberry jam would top it off.
I’d tour him on my computer and show him how a cell phone works. His eyes would grow large and he’d want to take over. I’d advise him - First a walk! He'd try to convince me otherwise but I've mastered his techniques in assertiveness.
"Let's go!" I'd lead the way.
He’d remark at the clear air, scents of the flowers and watch the pelicans and seagulls testing the currents. A pod of dolphins would delight him as they jumped and fished.
"Do they still make coca cola?" he'd ask and, "Wow, cameras without film so you can take shot after shot . . . Really?"
He'd turn, and chuckle, "Petsy, I miss hot dogs and Delaware Punch!"
I'd smell his Old Spice and watch the curling smile at the corner of his mouth.
"Now, show me that communication net?" he'd ask. "Stock market still around?"
We'd walk to another café where he could go WIFI, play all day and acquaint himself with world politics. Adjusting easily to the keys, within minutes he'd have mastered the world wide web.
He'd smile across at me, "Did I ever tell you about the time. . ." Then he'd look out at the clouds turning into animals and shapes. "Nature hasn't changed, has it?" he'd say. "It's still a marvel."
Just before sunset, we would return to sit on a bench by the sea and watch our “great ball of fire” ease past the horizon.
"I finally caught the green flash," I'd say.
"We'll see it together, Petsy. I'll just have to return next year."
Happy Birthday, Daddy. Same time, next year.