Fathers – His Story

June 22, 2015 Categories: Blog


Although a quiet  man, my father was always there for his family and sons. He took special interest in all our projects, even those which by today’s standard would be considered an absolute no-no. Truth is, I think he enjoyed these silly games as much as the kids!

We knew dad would have the final say and respected his word, but his curiosity often left the door open to stunts that would be long finished before he could say no.

As a boy I remember his love for music, Jazz, Blues, Classical Folk and Contemporary, and how it often on the stereo in our living room. I would have laughed thinking Jazz would become a musical passion of mine back then. Maybe this came from attending all the concerts in the park or the Orchestral shows at the National Arts Center? I’ve seen many performances with him over the years, one of the highlights being Bob Dylan with a group of my friends in 1981. Certainly one of his gifts to me is a love for music.

Dad was like Superman with super powers or Kryptonite. He could calm any situation, keeping us safe in a world that at the time seemed so big and scary. His hand in mind always brought a sensation of warmth and security.

Later in life I would also realize how dad enjoyed the strength his family brought him. How through our bond he stood taller, sharing our enthusiasm and passion for daily life. He held us up offering his wisdom to us, knowing his sons would take that which he shared into the world with us.

My dad and his brother (my uncle Fred whom I share a middle name with) taught me a respect for water, and of course to sail. Sailing is but another lifelong passion that came through my father, and like music soothes my soul.

In the Sixties and Seventies I spent much time with my dad’s father (my grandpa Kelly) who taught me through his own actions to be proud of oneself, living life to your best. Grandpa Kelly taught me the value of a dollar and everything a boy would want to know about trains. He was a man that knew how to laugh, relax and turn up the heat when needed. We never traveled about town without meeting a friend of his at nearly every corner, and he was always so pleased to have me there with him!

My mom’s father (grandpa MacDonald) lived in the country and taught me about animals and how the simple things in life made a man happy. He show us how to build things and had every tool imaginable, making it clear that we should know how to live using our own hands. Just a mile from grandpa MacDonald’s house was my uncles farm (my mom’s sister and her husband my uncle Wray), where I spend time in my teens during the summer. On the farm life was about working towards a common goal, then after work was done we got to play. I am ever indebted with knowing this life this way of life, feeling connected to people and community who lived a hard but rewarding life.

All of these great fathers complimented each other in a sense, it was their teachings and love that helped mould the person I am today.

In my twenties I met my wife, to include her remarkable family where Bob Paul (her father) was like a second father to me. I never called him dad (I think out of respect) but wished I had. He was a true gentleman and as generous as anyone I’ve ever known. Bob had a big aura that spread his honest love for life everywhere he went and to all he came upon. Sadly we lost Bob in 2006, but his smile, love of family and aura is still with us today.

It’s not easy to write such a brief note about my father and those who helped him raise me. But for now, on this Father’s Day it was an exercise in connecting / reconnecting with those who did this hard work.

I am so proud to have know these men, hoping even a small amount of their Kryptonite might be with me today!

By Tom Kelly


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