Hon­or­ing dad on Fa­ther’s Day

A mem­ber of the Great­est Gen­er­a­tion, he worked hard and in­stilled in­tegrity in his chil­dren

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By Stephen Moore Stephen Moore is a se­nior fel­low at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion.

This will be the first Fa­ther’s Day that I won’t be able to talk to my dad by phone or in per­son. He died at the ripe old age of 94 back in Fe­bru­ary. Wish you could have known him. At a cel­e­bra­tion of his 75th birth­day, I said that the three men I ad­mired most were Ron­ald Rea­gan, Pope John Paul II and my dad. That’s pretty im­pres­sive com­pany. My ear­li­est mem­ory of my dad was when I was about 3 or 4 years old and he used to pick me up and kiss me, which I ab­so­lutely hated be­cause he had prickly fa­cial hair that scratched my baby face. I would run away from him when I saw him com­ing and he would chase me down.

He and my mom grew up dur­ing the De­pres­sion, and he told sto­ries of de­pri­va­tion and eat­ing what to­day would be con­sid­ered dog food be­cause money was so tight. I re­mem­ber he and my mom were ob­ses­sive about re­quir­ing me and my four sib­lings to eat ev­ery­thing on the din­ner plate as a mat­ter of eth­i­cal obli­ga­tion. You didn’t let food go to waste in the Moore house­hold — and now I’m ob­ses­sive about it. The mil­len­ni­als have no idea.

He was a mem­ber of the Great­est Gen­er­a­tion and he served in the Army “with dis­tinc­tion” in the Pa­cific the­ater. He rarely if ever talked about the war and his at­ti­tude, like so many of the he­roes of that era, was that he did what he had to do to serve our coun­try at a time of need against the evil and in­hu­man­ity of the Japs and Ger­mans. My par­ents would never buy a Ja­panese car out of prin­ci­ple through­out the rest of their lives — and out of re­spect for them, I never will ei­ther.

He was a serial en­trepreneur in his work­ing ca­reer and op­er­ated an ex­port busi­ness sell­ing pipes, valves and in­dus­trial equip­ment to ev­ery cor­ner of the globe. He was an in­ter­na­tional trav­el­ing sales­man and when I was young he was gone over­seas for some­times weeks at a time.

We used to joke that this man who could barely screw in a light bulb — and as my mom used to joke, ev­ery time he put a shovel in the ground he would man­age to burst a pipe — was able to ex­plain and sell so­phis­ti­cated equip­ment to for­eign­ers.

We al­ways suspected that he might re­ally be with the CIA — an Amer­i­can James Bond but we could never prove it.

He loved to play golf and was a long ball hit­ter, but he had the yips when it came to putting. The most en­joy­ment he got out of golf was vi­car­i­ously — watch­ing my mom win 11 club cham­pi­onships.

He was strong as an ox and was a man’s man with­out any fem­i­nine side that I ever saw — not that there’s any­thing wrong with that.

He could drink any­one here un­der the ta­ble. The worst beat­ing that I ever got from him was not when I flunked French or threw the base­ball bat through the neigh­bors bay win­dow, but when fresh­man year I cheated on a test by writ­ing the Pythagorean For­mula on my wrist. Fail­ing was per­mis­si­ble. Cheat­ing un­for­giv­able. He taught in­tegrity.

One of my fond­est mem­o­ries was play­ing touch foot­ball in the back yard — dad and me ver­sus my two older brothers — and he would hand off the ball to me and then level my brothers with fore­arm shiv­ers as if he were Dea­con Jones and I was Gale Say­ers pranc­ing into the end zone.

If only the rest of life were that fun and easy.

In my whole life I never heard him curse — even though he had an ex­plo­sive tem­per.

I never in my whole life got out of bed ear­lier than he did.

He took a bath ev­ery day, not a shower.

He had a dou­ble chin and when he got an­gry he would jut out that square jaw and it was time to run for cover.

He al­ways and un­fail­ingly was first to pick up the bill when he was at a bar or ta­ble with friends. “Bill,” my mom would grouse in great an­noy­ance, “you don’t al­ways have to pick up the tab.” But he al­ways did.

He never once in his life set foot in Wash­ing­ton and he had ut­ter con­tempt for pol­i­tics and politi­cians. The only politi­cian I ever heard him get ex­cited about was John Mc­Cain be­cause of his war record.

He doted on my mom and let her rule the roost, but that no doubt ex­plains nearly 65 years of a lov­ing mar­riage. Happy wife, happy life. If we ever in­sulted or cursed mom he’d go into a rage and come after us with the belt in hand.

The only per­son I ever met in my whole life who had a bet­ter vo­cab­u­lary than dad was Bill Buck­ley.

His fa­vorite sports team was the 1994 North­west­ern Wild­cats Rose Bowl team. If you cut him he bled purple and white.

An­other happy mem­ory was sit­ting in the den with dad at night and watch­ing old re­run episodes of “The Honey­moon­ers” — the great­est TV show ever. We would both fall to the ground howl­ing in laugh­ter when Jackie Glea­son said things like: “You’re go­ing to the moon Alice — bang, zoom.” How po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect was that?

He never once that I re­mem­ber said “I love you.” But he never had to.


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