"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

MY DAD -- PHILIPPE A. MICHAUD -- FEBRUARY 17, 1922-AUGUST 28, 2000


Today I drove over a bridge that connects Beverly, MA to Salem, MA and spotted the tug boat pictured above, breaking up the ice in the river.  This scene took me back to a very special morning I spent with my Dad, in the mid-70's or so.  Since today is the day of his birth, I decided to write down that memory, and so I did.  First I shared it with my 3 siblings, and now I share it with you.  

Coming over the Kernwood Bridge today I stopped to watch a large tug boat breaking up the ice near the bridge.  It reminded me of a Saturday morning many cold winters ago when I was a single girl in an apartment in Salem. Dad called me early that day and said there was something he wanted to go watch so "dress real warm and I'll come pick you up."


I did as instructed and he drove us to the bridge near the School for the Deaf in Danvers. The fuel depots are there and because the river was frozen all the way to the Beverly bridge, barges could not get through. I don't know how Dad knew, but the Coast Guard had dispatched two of its biggest breakers to open up a path through the ice.


We parked and found a spot for good viewing, and drank coffee from the thermos he had brought. After a bit, the breakers appeared in the distance. We watched them bash their way through the ice, and we stayed until they had completed all of the breaking and tied down at the dock.


Dad and I were absolutely mesmerized by the forces of nature and man that morning. His wonder of nature and the world are a gift he gave to all of us, and it is a big piece of me, every day.


I'm glad I pulled on my ski clothes and sat by that bridge that day, with our Dad.


There are so many more things I could share about my Dad, that he grew up cold and hungry in the Depression, that he was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed.  So many stories in a life well lived, but stolen too early.  The most important thing I can say about him, though, is that he was a great Dad, and that is not an easy thing to be.  


He gave to me my love of the outdoors, my endless curiosity and fascination of all things, and he gave me the strength and wisdom to live life well.  


The next time your Dad calls you to go off and do something together, you go.  You could be receiving the gift of a memory that sustains, such as I received one very cold day by the side of a river.  

3 comments:

Some day, I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one, I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done. I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways, of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.