Later this month our family will be marking the 85th birthday of my father, the man who for decades was an integral part of public events on Canada Day in Owen Sound, Ontario. My dad, Bill O’Connor, supervised the setting off of the fireworks, a highlight in the city’s calendar year.
One year the daily newspaper, The Sun Times (where I’d get my start as a summer intern in this crazy business that I work in) did a feature on Dad, with a great picture showing the fireworks mortars that he’d had welded to his specifications. Given other circumstances, I firmly believe my pops would have plowed similar terrain as Elon Musk at Tesla, my dad had such an instinct for construction and science. His destiny, though, was different. His dad and my grandfather died in a farm accident when Dad was small and to help with the family income in those pre-World War II years, he quit his studies before high school.
Until just a little while ago, he’d put in more than a regular workweek, a lifelong dedication – 70-plus years – of providing for family, which he did, and how. But it wasn’t all about duty. Dad loves to work with his hands.
It’s not over, that’s for sure. Because that was my dad in the viewing area of my dad and mom’s new condo home, the tallest building in Owen Sound, on Wednesday night, where he had a bird’s-eye view of the fireworks out by the grain elevator at the mouth of the harbor. You can bet he had a fine time thinking back over all the hard work – and joy – he provided for thousands during those special years.
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