Happy Heavenly Birthday, Dad

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by Sharon M. Kennedy

On this day in 1910, Alvin Aloysius Kennedy was born. Why Gram gave Dad such a strange middle name was known only to her. Perhaps Aloysius had some connection with Irish relatives, although a quick Google search revealed its origins were German and Latin. It certainly isn’t a common name. According to another non-scientific www search, fewer than 0.001% of infants were saddled with such an odd name since the1940s. This fact will not surprise anyone. Most of the babies were of the Catholic religion. Wikipedia, a somewhat unreliable source, reported a number of “notable” people including Catholic priests and cardinals, Italian aristocrats, French poets, a Singapore actor, and a variety of sports figures were christened Aloysius either as a first or middle name.

But regardless of his second name, Dad’s first also presented a challenge. I think Elvin was the traditional spelling. However, when I was a youngster and wrote his name on the church collection envelope, I couldn’t make a decent-looking “E” so I started writing his name with an “A”. Nobody noticed and if Mom or Dad did, they didn’t chastise me. Dad was called “Al” so I suppose my spelling made sense. His driver’s license disagreed as he had used the “E” instead of the “A.”

Dad giving hay to the HerefordsDad giving hay to the Herefords

But as Juliet said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.” And whether Elvin or Alvin, Dad was a kind and considerably sweet man. He never had much to say unless he downed too many beers. The only question he ever asked me was “why” when I told him I was going to marry. As a girl of twenty-one, I said “because I love him.” Dad shook his but did not offer a verbal response.

On this special day, I always remember him. He was a good man and never complained when I dented the car or drove with the emergency brake on from the Soo to Osborn’s gas station five miles away on old US-2. I miss you, Dad. You left us so unexpectedly. Mom was heartbroken and angry that she hadn’t gone first. When I told her you would have been lost without her, she realized your passing into the Great Unknown before her made sense. She was a soldier and is with you now.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Stephanie and I send you our love.

Dad on his Case tractor

Dad on his Case tractor

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