Dear Old Dad

I have spurred my memory about Dad again. I was relating to a friend how he insisted on reading the first copies of the Omaha World Herald, ensuring everything was correct before releasing it for full production. He was night superintendent in the pressroom. At his funeral in 1988, a young man named Nick Schinker did Dad’s eulogy. He described his knowing my dad, not as we knew him, but as a man who befriended him at work. I still have his typed talk, and I re-read it for years. Thank you again, Nick.

The eulogy affected me and still does to this day. Publishing this blog daily has me proofing over and over, and there still can be mistakes in it. I recall Nick describing Dad, making sure every headline, by-line, and especially people’s names need to be spelled correctly. It would be a shame to have your name misspelled in your obituary, or in a story about your family business. He was right, and still is to this day. Dad would check the paper that rolled off the pressed first, ensuring the first editions, and those that followed were the best to be delivered.

This rang true to me when I heard it at 38. Dad was all about learning and being able to do it yourself. We’d ask how to spell a word and he’d say, “Look it up!” We’d say, “Dad, if we knew how to spell it, we COULD look it up!” He’d laugh and tell us to go where we think it should be in the dictionary and see if we can find it.

One time my older brother was talking about a word, gila monster, we couldn’t figure out how to pronounce. We got the monster part and were clueless about the Gila. Mom volunteered, “Jila.” We have a cousin named Jilla, so of course, we laughed. Jilla is far from a monster. That made it even funnier.

We got the dictionary, and Dad had us sound it out. That was our first lesson in a different language pronunciation. Gila bites are very painful, none have resulted in a human death, according to Wickipedia. I wonder what Dad would think of Wickipedia.

I know he’d never rely on spell check. Spell check never checks grammar. That is where you can make many, many errors. They’re on you if they attach your name to the email, memo, or other writing. I would love to sit with my dad and teach him how to use the Internet on a laptop. It would fascinate him on how it works. That’s a little sad, given there is no opportunity. There is also the positive feeling I get from it. He wouldn’t believe I would know all that. I’d love to amaze him. Maybe that’s what heaven is about.

I’m off with him to buy him a new laptop. Hoping I make the right decision for him. I believe I know what he wants, and we’ll get it. Happy Super Bowl Sunday, I’m disinterested because Kansas City isn’t in it. Good Luck to everyone. Don’t each much today. See you tomorrow!

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