Posts Tagged ‘Fathers Day’

Thoughts of Dad on Father’s Day

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 9 years since my dad, Earl Brindle died in December, 2006.

Earl N Brindle-official Army AirForce photo-1941

Over the past few years, I find myself having conversations with my father especially during my morning walks. I’ll be thinking about some problem or concern and, suddenly, I’ll be asking Dad what he thinks. He doesn’t talk back but, in some way, I do feel his presence. He’s also shown up as a participant in my dreams. I’ll wake up and have to remind myself that Dad’s no longer “here”. I’m not sure what that means but were I to visit a psychoanalyst I’m sure that they’d have a field day with that information.

It’s odd because I didn’t have that many conversations with my father when he was alive.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve started to notice similarities between myself and my father. Our body types are more alike than I’d once thought. I like learning new things and sharing information with others that might help them to increase their understanding or improve their life. Although perceived by some to be an outgoing socializer, my nature is to be somewhat of a loner. At home, I’m not handy. Neither was he. But I know it and hire experts. He tried to do it himself. Then we brought in the experts!

My mother had been mythologizing Dad for my brother, Alan and me ever since we were kids. In Mom’s eyes, he was perfect in every way. And my father was a terrific role model: self-educated, intellectually curious, ethical, compassionate, generous, friendly, self-deprecating, great sense of humor, civic-minded, concerned citizen, loyal & devoted husband, interested & involved parent, honest, reliable, trustworthy, helpful, courteous, kind, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. A solid, upstanding role model. As the first born son of a role model like this, it’s not a total surprise to me why I’ve had a problem with authority figures all my life!

Dad grew up during The Great Depression. He would have easily done well in college but his parents were poor and couldn’t afford to send him. So, he did his best, served his country during World War II, worked hard, provided for his family, weathered adversity, and lived a productive, honorable life. We Baby Boomers may feel like we’ve been having a tough time during these past five years but my father and most others of his generation lived through and survived during much tougher times. Somehow, they made it through and managed to thrive. Rather than whining and bemoaning our losses, we need to learn from their example, do what’s best for our country and humanity, and get on with our lives.

Through his actions and his words, Earl N. Brindle taught me about being a generous and compassionate friend and neighbor, about being a trustworthy and equal partner in marriage, about being a good parent and about being focused on getting the job done right. I’m still his work in progress.

My father is one of the reasons I ended up in Saratoga Springs. Dad loved to ride horses, a skill he picked up in Wyoming during his stint with the Army Air Forces, and enjoyed watching them race. Along with such sporting events as the Saturday night boxing matches, NY Giants football, and Red Sox baseball, we would always watch the Triple Crown races together. (He would have loved watching American Pharoah win it this year!) When I moved to Saratoga and took Dad to our legendary race course in August to watch the morning workouts, he was in heaven. Along with being able to give him a granddaughter who he adored, I’m glad that I was able to give him those experiences at Saratoga Race Course.

I’m grateful for the time that my dad spent with me at the baseball field trying (unsuccessfully) to help me become a better player, trying to teach me how to fish (again, unsuccessfully), and risking his life and his sanity as he endeavored to teach his 16 year old eldest son how to drive.

Thanks, Dad, for setting such a great example for how to be a good parent. Hope my kids feel the same about me one day.

Earl-N.-Brindle

Memories of Dad 2014

My dad, Earl Brindle died in December, 2006.

Over the past few years, I find myself having conversations with my father especially during my morning walks. I’ll be thinking about some problem or concern and, suddenly, I’ll be asking Dad what he thinks. He doesn’t talk back but, in some way, I do feel his presence. He’s also shown up as a participant in my dreams. I’ll wake up and have to remind myself that Dad’s no longer “here”. I’m not sure what that means but were I to visit a psychoanalyst I’m sure that they’d have a field day with that information.

It’s odd because I didn’t have that many conversations with my father when he was alive.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve started to notice similarities between myself and my father. Our body types are more alike than I’d once thought. I like learning new things and sharing information with others that might help them to increase their understanding or improve their life. Although perceived by some to be an outgoing socializer, my nature is to be somewhat of a loner. At home, I’m not handy. Neither was he. But I know it and hire experts. He tried to do it himself. Then we brought in the experts!

My mother had been mythologizing Dad for my brother, Alan and me ever since we were kids. In Mom’s eyes, he was perfect in every way. And my father was a terrific role model: self-educated, intellectually curious, ethical, compassionate, generous, friendly, self-deprecating, great sense of humor, civic-minded, concerned citizen, loyal & devoted husband, interested & involved parent, honest, reliable, trustworthy, helpful, courteous, kind, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. A solid, upstanding role model. As the first born son of a role model like this, it’s not a total surprise to me why I’ve had a problem with authority figures all my life!

Dad grew up during The Great Depression. He would have easily done well in college but his parents were poor and couldn’t afford to send him. So, he did his best, served his country during World War II, worked hard, provided for his family, weathered adversity, and lived a productive, honorable life. We Baby Boomers may feel like we’ve been having a tough time during these past five years but my father and most others of his generation lived through and survived during much tougher times. Somehow, they made it through and managed to thrive. Rather than whining and bemoaning our losses, we need to learn from their example, do what’s best for our country and humanity, and get on with our lives.

Through his actions and his words, Earl N. Brindle taught me about being a generous and compassionate friend and neighbor, about being a trustworthy and equal partner in marriage, about being a good parent and about being focused on getting the job done right. I’m still his work in progress.

My father is one of the reasons I ended up in Saratoga Springs. Dad loved to ride horses, a skill he picked up in Wyoming during his stint with the Army Air Forces, and enjoyed watching them race. Along with such sporting events as the Saturday night boxing matches, NY Giants football, and Red Sox baseball, we would always watch the Triple Crown races together. When I moved to Saratoga and took him to our legendary race course in August to watch the morning workouts, he was in heaven. Along with being able to give him a granddaughter who he adored, I’m glad that I was able to give him those experiences at Saratoga Race Course.

I’m grateful for the time that my dad spent with me at the baseball field trying (unsuccessfully) to help me become a better player, trying to teach me how to fish (again, unsuccessfully), and risking his life and his sanity as he endeavored to teach his 16 year old eldest son how to drive.

Thanks, Dad, for setting such a great example for how to be a good parent. Hope my kids feel the same about me one day.
Del & Earl

Father’s Day 2013

Lately, I seem to be having more conversations with my father. I’ll be on a morning walk thinking about some problem or concern and, suddenly, I’ll be asking Dad what he thinks.

Earl Brindle died in December, 2006.

It’s odd because I didn’t have that many conversations with my father when he was alive. Especially, as we both got older.

When my brother and I were kids, Dad always made it a point to be home for a family dinner at 6pm. He would ask us about what we learned in school or about our days and, if we asked him a question, his Dad’s response would be: “Look it up in the World Book”. [ World Book was the Encyclopedia Britanica for families of more modest means in those days but a useful reference source, nonetheless.] Dad’s response became a bit of a family joke. Whenever my brother or I asked a question, Dad would smile and we’d respond, “I know. Look it up in the World Book.”

My father is one of the reasons I ended up in Saratoga Springs. Dad loved to ride horses, a skill he picked up in Wyoming during his stint with the Army Air Forces, and enjoyed watching them race. Along with such sporting events as the Saturday night boxing matches, NY Giants football, and Red Sox baseball, we would always watch the Triple Crown races together. When I moved to Saratoga and took him to our legendary race course in August to watch the morning workouts, he was in heaven. Along with being able to give him a granddaughter who he adored, I’m glad that I was able to give him those experiences at Saratoga Race Course.

On this Father’s Day, I’m grateful for the time that my dad spent with me at the baseball field trying (unsuccessfully) to help me become a better player, trying to teach me (again, unsuccessfully) how to fish, and risking his life and his sanity as he endeavored to teach his 16 year old eldest son how to drive.

Thanks, Dad, for setting such a great example for how to be a good father.ENB in Wyoming circa 1942

Earl-N.-Brindle

Fathers’ Day Thoughts


I can still remember when it hit me. After 13 hours of labor, my wife had given birth to our daughter at 1:15am on May 27th, 1994. A few hours later, I was home in the shower and it suddenly struck me. I finally understood the meaning of the word “commitment”. That’s when I learned what it meant to be a father and that realization helped me to appreciate my dad.

Earl N. Brindle died on a Saturday night in early December, 2006 just a few weeks shy of his 87th birthday. He and my mother started dating when they were 16 and had been together for 71 years. The only time they were apart was for four years during World War II. They were married 70 years ago this month.

Dad was born in Raynham, MA., the son of the late Thomas H. and Gertrude (Smith) Brindle. He was a resident of the small Rhode Island village where I grew up since 1947 where he had owned and operated the former Earl N. Brindle Insurance Agency.

Dad served as the Treasurer of the Greenville Vol. Fire Dept., a trustee of the Greenville Baptist Church, he was the first chairman of the Smithfield Sewer Authority (He was amused that the town named the sewage processing plant after him), he served on the Board of Directors for the Greenville Public Library, and in 1999, was inducted into the Smithfield Heritage Hall of Fame. He was also a WWII Army Aircorp Veteran serving in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater as part of the ground crew which took care of the cargo planes which flew over the hump from India to China.

That’s my father’s official bio. But it doesn’t really tell you much about the man.

Something I discovered after my father’s death was that in the summer of 1929 when he was 10 years old Dad and his best friend hitchhiked from Cranston, RI to Raynham, MA and then back home again. That’s a distance of more than 30 miles. And it was back in the day when cars were still relatively rare and most roads were either dirt or two lanes. Today’s equivalent would probably be a couple of 10 year olds hitching a couple of hundred miles from home.

When Dad was a boy, some kid threw a rock which hit my father in the head and all but blinded him. From that day forward, he had to wear glasses with lenses as thick as Coke bottle bottles and his dream of becoming a pilot was ended. Dad didn’t complain about it. He just “made the best of it.”

My father was in the insurance business but he wasn’t a hard-sell kind of guy. Dad was a little ahead of his time because his approach was what would be described today as “consultative”. Of course, he wanted to do a good job for his company but he felt that the best way to accomplish that was by doing what was right for his customer. It wasn’t uncommon while I was growing up to have the phone ring at midnight or 2AM with someone calling to say that they had been in an accident or that there’d been a fire at their home. When that happened, Dad would help them through it and make sure that his customer got what they were owed from the insurance company.

Dad wasn’t really a social kind of guy. He was friendly, amusing and a good conversationalist in a social setting when he had to be. But my sense is that he was somewhat of a loner and, given the choice, would have avoided social scenes. Nevertheless, Dad was generous with his time and several people became his clients when he stopped to give them a helping hand with a flat tire or some other car problem.

When he was a young man, Dad had joined a local Providence insurance firm and had been a rising star in the company. After 20 years with the firm, Dad asked for a raise. My brother and I were heading off to college and , although Dad appreciated some of the perks and small salary increases that he’d been given over the years, he still felt that he was being underpaid. His employer interpreted Dad’s request as ungrateful and impertinent, fired him and then sued my father for potential business he might take away. Amazingly, the judge upheld the company’s position and ordered my father to pay the company $10,000 (approx. $ 40,000 in 2010 dollars) for potential business that he might take away. It was an unjust and devastating decision especially with two kids about to head off to college but Dad just hunkered down and started his own business.

My father was a man who had the courage of his convictions. He tried to be open-minded and just. And he tried to accept others on their own terms as who and what they were. Nevertheless, he wasn’t afraid to speak out about what he considered to be right and wrong.

When Dad was chairman of the Smithfield Sewer Commission, an unpaid position, he devoted a lot of time and energy to make sure that the town got the best and most economical system available. Some cynical folks accused him of being corrupt because they assumed that anyone in that position must be taking bribes. I’ll always remember one meeting which I decided to attend when I drove home for a visit. My father didn’t know I was there but during a break in the meeting he went to the lobby for a drink of water. While he was there alone, a group of 7 or 8 men who were about half my father’s age approached him menacingly. They disagreed with his position on whatever issue was being discussed and they were trying to bully him. As I watched, the group started closing in on my father and I thought I was going to have to step in. But Dad just stood his ground, stayed calm, explained his opinion and walked away. It was quite a performance and I was proud to be his son.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve started to notice similarities between myself and my father. Our body types are more alike than I’d once thought. I like learning new things and sharing information with others that might help them to increase their understanding or improve their life. Although perceived by some to be an outgoing socializer, my nature is to be somewhat of a loner. At home, I’m not handy. Neither was he. But I know it and hire experts. He tried to do it himself. Then we brought in the experts!

Through his actions and his words, Earl N. Brindle taught me about being a generous and compassionate friend and neighbor, about being a trustworthy and equal partner in marriage, about being a good parent and about being focused on getting the job done right.

My dad. His life ended five and a half years ago but his spirit is with me on this Father’s Day.

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