It's not just Lincoln's Birthday

by Rich Pasco, Monday, February 12, 2001

February 12 is also the birthday of my father, Russell Allen Pasco. While I've always appreciated President Abe Lincoln, I also thought he got way too much of the spotlight on that day, and my dad never got enough. With this post, I hope to remedy that, at least in part.

My dad, born in 1917, grew up in a large family in New Britain, Connecticut. He married my mom while he was serving in World War II. I was a post-war baby-boomer.

When I was a child, Dad taught me a lot. I treasured our Saturdays together—our "you and me days" as I called them. He taught me how to use tools, how to fix up old houses and make them like new, how to build furniture and other things of wood. In the context of house wiring, he taught me about electricity, giving me what became the core of my professional career. Dad taught me how to be courageous and do what needed to be done, putting rational thought ahead of fear. He demonstrated how to be responsible at work, and to be a good provider.

He and my mom divorced when I was 15, and he remarried a year later. It took me a long time to come around to loving his new wife. Until I had done a lot of HAI, I blamed her for taking him from my mother and me. A decade or so ago I cleared that with her and thanked her for loving my dad as she obviously has. She's clearly been good for him, and they've been together 35 years.

Now, as my dad ages, it's time that I show my love for him in a new way. When I visited him at his San Diego home a couple weeks ago, I felt sad as I watched him struggle in confusion trying to pay his bills. Too many ischemic incidents over the years have claimed a toll of enough brain cells that the clever, proud, independent man I once knew now finds challenge in everyday tasks. Dad accepted my offer to load his household finances into my computer. The utilities now send their bills to my address, and my computer writes and records the checks and does the arithmetic. We've brought several accounts current, and I'm feeling closer to my dad through our teamwork and partnership. If nothing else, it gives us a good excuse to talk on the phone every few days.

Having lost my mother last summer, I know how important it is to take every opportunity to show my love, to feel it, and to let it be felt with every action I take. And I won't let this opportunity go by.


- Rich