Last month was my Dad's 86th birthday. He died a quarter century ago when when I was 34.
In the 20th century, Winston Churchill was the greatest person I knew about. In my life, my Dad was the greatest person I knew.
Lawrenceville standout, Peleliu veteran, Okinawa veteran, Carleton grad, Yale Law School grad, Cleary Gottlieb partner, civil rights activist, fairest man I ever knew (he made me believe the Rule of Law was attainable and would make all things possible, and that there were actually men who had no price), father, husband and heroic in death. He died in my presence, and all I could say as this transcendental occurrence transpired was "God bless you, Dad."
Maybe he went to prepare our place by the right side of the Lord in the House of my Father. I remember selfishly thinking at age 34 that the cushion between me and God had been removed.
He was 61. I'll be 60 within three months.
I came within 20 seconds of drowning two years ago and feel sorry for my three adult kids, who haven't communicated with me since before they were of the age of majority. This pretty commonplace Western tragedy is directly the work of their mother, who overbore their wills as adolescents during the divorce for her own purposes. Mother knows best, and American courts lap it up. She's a true feminist's nightmare.
If I hadn't made my peace with my Dad during those five months when he was terminally ill, I would not be a man. Did I say I was sorry for my three sons who are letting their opportunity to know their Dad slip away?
Anyway, James Wilson Lamberton, Minnesotan, son, brother, husband, father, soldier, scholar, wise man, lawyer, great man, American hero.