Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
Saturday’s poem du jour was too harsh, unfair even 
Given our family tree was rooted in alcoholism, 
Your  own father’s dysfunction poisoning future limbs.

You vowed to be different, signed up before the draft, 
fell in love on a barstool while on leave in a German pub.
This petite, dark eyed Aussie, part time barmaid in a German pub,
served you dark lager while worming her way into your heart, and then you had to go. 
Later, your phone calls got through.
You told her you got your orders as she said she was pregnant.
You could have abandoned her then, but you didn’t. 

You married her, set her up in your country and
Fought like hell in another country so you could get back to her. 
You did things none would know for decades, 
Until alcohol unloosed your tongue to reveal the nightmares 
decaying you from the inside out. 

Had your rock not crumbled,  you would have overcome
but she didn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t
Her own illness contaminating body, mind, and spirit, 
swallowing up any hope left,  your alcoholic rages sucking 
the last gasps of oxygen of a great love affair. 

You could have given up on us though, but you didn’t.  
Men didn’t raise kids back then, women did. 
You thought about it, thought about hurling off the 
Warren Avenue Bridge, but you stayed for us. 
You did what was required and then some. 

Because of you, I am here today, more like you than I want to admit. 
I talk like you, 
I work like you,
persevere like you.  
Life has done its damndest to destroy me, too, Dad, 
But I survive, like you. 
So Thank you, Dad. 
Happy Father’s Day.