Happy birthday, Dad! If my father were alive, on July 26th he’d be 103 years old.
Dad grew up in Waterloo, Iowa, where his father was a machine tool operator who made parts for John Deere tractors. He came to Chicago in the midst of the Depression with a high school diploma, took a two-week bookkeeping job with a company that sold fine china and silverware, and over the next half-century became that company’s CEO and Chair of the Board.
But Dad never lost the values he learned at home — values like honesty, hard work, personal frugality combined with generosity, kindness in every form, and the all-important ability to laugh at one’s self and with others. Dad was the best man I’ve ever known — followed closely by my Grandpa Palmer — and I feel deeply grateful that I drew him as a father.
In celebration of Max J. Palmer and all the good fathers out there, here’s a poem by William Stafford about a gift my father gave me: a sense of being at home in my own skin and on the face of the Earth. If that’s a gift you were given or have developed, pass it along!
by William Stafford"No need to get home early; the car can see in the dark." He wanted me to be rich the only way we could, easy with what we had.