|My father, somewhere in Germany. I'm so proud of you, Dad!|
Yesterday's national commemoration of the allied D-Day invasion of France has lingered with me. I still think of my dad, who proudly served in World War II. Like many veterans, he rarely spoke of the war, but every now and then he'd let a few things slip through.
My dad was one of the brave Americans who stormed the beaches of Normandy.
He said the minute his boots hit the water, he accepted that this would probably be his last day on earth. He was 21 years old. Thankfully, my dad survived, but over 9,000 soldiers were either killed or wounded during the invasion.
Dad was a medic and didn't carry a gun. Instead he was provided with an abundant supply of morphine to ease the pain of the dying during their transition to a better place. He said it was an honor to comfort and tend to a wounded soldier. Sometimes a heartfelt word, direct eye contact, or the mere squeeze of a hand was the best medicine.
So what does this have to do with art? Well, my dad went to art school in Chicago after the war. Supporting a new family, however, became a more realistic concern and he was forced to get a "real" job. After retirement, my dad began painting again, but health issues eventually got in the way.
I wish I could have had the opportunity to paint with my father. He died a few years before I took my first painting class.
You know, it's funny that I can still hear my dad's voice. If I get tempted to "borrow" a really good idea from another artist, I get the "do the right thing" lecture. When I become discouraged, I hear my dad talk about having to pay our dues. But, best of all, I often hear him whisper that he's so proud of me.
And it doesn't get any better than that.