Everyone should be blessed with a father like mine.  At nearly 95 he is still active, alert, caring and very, very good company.  I am nearly 67 and my “little sister” is 53.  We spent a pleasant lunch with Dad discussing everything from outhouses to computers.  Born in 1917, he remembers no indoor toilets, rigging up a shower (bucket on a rope slung over a barn rafter), and when his farmhouse home in rural Tennessee was first wired with electricity – a bare bulb hanging on a wire.  How did he span from there to flying bombers, to living independently as a septuagenarian whose online chat group entertains friends and family?  He is a man who has continually reinvented himself and he is a man who has overcome great periods of difficulty and disappointment.  I believe my Dad’s daily routine of getting up at dawn, flinging back the drapes, opening the door, lighting up a pipe, making a good cup of coffee and sitting by the window to watch the sun rise, the birds  at the feeders he has managed for decades, and his quiet meditation on the gift of another day is the ground from which he draws such steadfastness.  Dad is gentle in spirit, mischievous in nature, and loving and compassionate in his heart.  He never harmed anyone in his entire near century of living.  That is saying something. But mostly, he has loved me and my sisters when we probably didn’t deserve it – through the vagaries of life – he has been a rock. Our children have also found a loving grandfather and refuge whenever they have needed him.  My gratitude is great today.