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The One Question My Father Often Asked

Geroge Goldbach in Ellwangen, Germany

IT'S HALLMARK TIME again because Father's Day is here and as I watch our lovely 8yo create a unique Father's Day card, I can hear a question my dad often asked his five sons. "What are you going to do with that?"

Dad (pictured at age 22 a few months before he met my mom for the first time) rarely challenged what his offspring did. But he did want to encourage us to consider our actions. He was more observer than judge and I will never forget his style. I'm trying to emulate his considerate approach in my own life now, stepping back from an often critical perspective that I apply to everyday interactions.

My dad passed away in 2003. At his funeral, while viewing my dad's hands for the last time, I listened to his friends and extended family talk about how he affected their lives. Wrapped inside those testimonial comments was the personality of my father, revealed through the impression he made when working with people across gender, age and racial demographics. His courtesy and lifelong curiosity earned the respect of hundreds of people who trudged through snow to attend his funeral. That memory will never fade.

And the sound of his voice asking what I'm going to do will always resonate in my mind. On Father's Day, I wish I could join my four brothers in a celebration that honors our father. We would consume mass quantities of pretzels, pizza and beer because dad would want to join that kind of celebration.


+++ Bernie Goldbach is the oldest of five boys raised by George and Evelyn Goldbach in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.