Friday, June 17, 2011

Thoughts For a Father's Day

It's been just two months since my 93 year young dad passed away.
That means this will be the first Father's Day I celebrate (?) without him.
As a tiny and totally insufficient tribute to his life I hereby submit my eulogy to a quietly great man that many of you should have known.  Luckily I did.
I wrote the following to say at his service but cut it back at the last minute to fit into time constraints.  No such constraints exist on the web so here is the full version.

How do you compress nearly 10 decades into a 5 minute eulogy?
We’re here today to say goodbye to my dad Sol Resch, just physically.
I was trying to find the right words to describe him.  There are so many. He was a good man, a kind man, an honorable man.  But luckily we have one word that succinctly says it all, MENSCH.
And at the mere mention of his name people who knew Sol think, mensch.
So today is not only about Sol but about all of you, all of us.
And it’s about all the others whose lives were touched by this mensch.
I worked with my dad for years and learned his philosophy. Sol merely said if you cannot be my friend you cannot be my customer.  And Sol had more customers than I can remember, or were they friends?
Those who worked for or with Sol came to love him.  They considered him a friend or mentor.
Their messages of condolence this week filled my inbox and their words tell the story.  Here are some:
“No one ever had a bad word about Sol and he never uttered one about others.”
“He was one of the nicest sweetest men I have ever met. It was a pleasure to have known him.”
Reading this another said:
“Those words truly describe your dad. He was wonderful. He had many friends who truly admired him.”
A young lady who worked for him for a short time wrote:
“While our world will be a little less "bright" without him the heavens will be "ballroom" dancing tonight as they celebrate his life.”  She was right.  Aside from everything else, he vas also a good denser!
A friend of Sol’s from the Midwest said:
“He was class personified; a gentleman’s gentleman. We are all better for knowing Sol.”
A woman from Northridge and the Queens Democratic Party said, “I really liked Sol, He’ll be missed!”
Finally a dear family member posted:
Thank goodness Uncle Sol, like his big sister, had a wonderful and vibrant life right into his 90's; Sol was an amazing man and I loved him so.   We all did.
But there are many other people who owe much to Sol and don’t even realize it.  They are the veterans at the St. Albans campus hospital who received a banana and a friendly word each Wednesday when volunteer Sol drove over to offer aid and comfort, right up until his last Wednesday, just 2½ weeks ago!

"I stand before you today -
Not every veteran can say that!"
Funds Sol raised as Commander of his JWV Post helped many veterans around the country.  He broke fund raising records for this group. He was honored by the Queens Democratic Society a few years ago where he gave a heart felt speech that brought tears to listeners.
In Northridge where Sol lived for 60 years maintenance workers could expect a nice gift every December because Sol coordinated the Holiday collections and fund raising efforts from the hundreds and hundreds of tenants, even up until this past December!
A beautiful Wedding photo
After a tough childhood, losing both his parents before he was 20 Sol buckled down to take care of things. There weren’t too many smiles back then.  That started to change in 1941 when he married our mom, Rose.
South Pacific here I come
There were more smiles in 1942 with the birth of his 1st son Robert. There were more smiles when WWII ended and then understandably great enormous smiles in 1949 when, well, I was born.
Ain't I cute?
And soon the smiles grew into laughter as dad could relax and start to enjoy life.
I already miss his favorite jokes, most of them pretty bad.  One that caused him to laugh so hard he cried, and therefore so did we.  Remember, “Nu? I had a car like that vunce?” Ask me later and I’ll tell you the whole joke.  But don’t get upset if you think it’s bad, you’ve been warned.
Then there was his infamous answer to daughter-in-law’s query about cockfights.  He also once found new ways to use those silly glasses with that fat nose but I won’t go further into that in mixed company.
And never one to cause anyone distress he made sure strangers left him feeling good about themselves.
In the garment district there was a restaurant named Frank’s Spa, it wasn’t.
Sol ate lunch there occasionally.
One day he walked in and a new waitress nearly lost her composure because among other things my dad looked exactly like Red Buttons when he was young.  For those of you too young to know who that is google him!
The waitress was unable to control herself and she blurted out, “You’re Red Buttons!”
Sol had heard this for years and was ready with a simple reply.  “No, no I’m not.”
“Yeah, you’re him.”
At this point he realized the futility of getting into an argument and not getting lunch on time so he merely shrugged his shoulders and tilted his head.
This was all the signal the waitress needed and she ran off into the kitchen.
The result was simply that Sol got served and the waitress went home and told everyone she served Red Buttons.
She became a celebrity for a day and dad ate lunch.
I miss his gentle good ways.
We all miss his gentle good ways.
And without realizing it strangers miss his gentle good ways.
But most of all we will miss his loving generosity, whatever it took.  If money was needed funds were raised. Those in need were never disappointed.
But they also received a gift money just could not buy, Sol!
So today we say goodbye to Sol’s body, not his spirit and surely not his essence.
Because as I said earlier today is about all of us.
We keep Sol’s memory alive.
If the measure of a man is not taken by those he loves but by those who love him then you’d need a pretty large measuring stick for Sol.
With Granddaughter Sara
With grandson Rich

And so to a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and luckily for him, boyfriend, rest in peace dad.
We all love you. 


train buddy said...

That was absolutely beautiful. Your dad would have been very proud of your speech and of you just as I am.

Cousin Bruce said...

Thank you. I'd like to think so.

Cousin Bruce said...

This comment was sent to me by a dear friend from Virginia:

Read about the birthday party as well as Father's Day.

Sol was a great guy, always cool, calm and collected.

As difficult as it seems at this point in time, you can be happy that Sol didn't suffer too
much at the end.

It sounds silly, but he lived till he died.

With my Dad gone over 25 years now, I still can get thoughts of him that make me take a deep breath.

They never met each other, but if they did I know they would have been life long friends.

Hang in there.

Thanks to Dennis G from Richmond for the kind heartfelt thoughts!!!