This I Believe

Donald - Easthampton, Massachusetts
Entered on May 24, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe we should say “nuts” to life’s challenges, never giving up.

My dad enjoyed life with all its trials and tribulations. If you met him you would think he was “happy go lucky”.

I believe World War II shaped that attitude. As a young man, he saw the world compliments of Uncle Sam.

I saw pictures of him with the machine gun he carried. The gun was bigger than he was.

He was wounded twice. The first time was at the D-Day jump. The second time was in Bastogne.

He told me he never prayed as hard as he did Christmas 1944. He was 29. It is probably why Christmas was always a special day for him.

Now that I am much older and wiser, I too just do what I enjoy most.

I have grand-kids to watch grow.

Every chance I get, I go fishing with our son Tim.

Each fall, my wife Pat and I visit a national park, here in the United States.

In the winter we enjoy some foreign country.

I’ve ridden the Orient Express, seen the pyramids of Egypt, held million year old African mouse bones, and gazed in marvel at the Nazca Lines.

It wasn’t that long ago that I stood in Alexander the Great’s father’s, (Phillip II) tomb. A few days later I gazed at a flower growing where the oracle of Delphi once stood. I took pictures.

While in South Africa, I held a member of Parliament captive in the airline seat next to me, explaining that simplicity was the solution to his country’s water shortage. Education and water restricting shower heads could help his country ride out the drought. This was after I almost drowned in the hotel shower.

I had a good laugh with a University of Witwatersrand student. We both discovered the bronze statue of Doc Broom at Sterkfontein Cave had him holding what looked more like Peking Man than Missus Ples.

Once I noted to a Peruvian official that situating their landfill north, next door to a resort beach was bad planning if you wanted to attract tourists.

Coming home that same year, I put forth a theory that the Nazca Lines were really the foundation remnants of long abandoned suburbs, representing city planning at its best, not unlike the complex architectural design of Cuzco as a condor, or Ollantaytambo as an ear of corn.

Unlike my father, I didn’t need a war to tell me we should all love life, enjoy it to the fullest, help people along the way, enjoy their company, and dream of things to come.

In the end I believe I’ve become my father. It just took me twice as long!

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

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Stanley Daniel Polonis

April 9, 1915 – March 30, 1980

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