My father, James B. Briggs, has died at age 89 after a series of illnesses … in other words, “old age.”
He was born in 1924, and raised on a farm in Michigan as part of a large family – typical Americana.
He learned to drive on a Ford Model T, saw the world as a Merchant Seaman in WW2, but never owned a computer or cell phone or flew on an airplane.
We seldom talked at length, aside from an annual marathon session, but it was always interesting, like a window back in time a century.
To him, Elvis Presley was a new-age singer.
He was tough both physically and mentally, like an alpha Silverback Gorilla. Hard drinking, hard smoking and hard living until 60 – then he quit those habits cold-turkey.
He showed how to be a man by example, as a hard working small-time real estate developer, saver and penny stock investor.
He was well-read financially, subscribing to 3 newspapers and watching PBS news for decades.
My fondest memories of my father were when he took me to renovation sites for days at a time as a construction helper.
When it came time for me to file the paperwork for US citizenship in 1998, he helped without a single complaint on how difficult it is to locate ancient paperwork.
Also he showed what not to do, as an indifferent family man, likely because he had divorced once, and we were his second family.
His favorite sayings were:
– “I’m being dollared to death.” – on hardware store trips that result in multiple purchases
– “There’s always another opportunity.” – on stock market cycles
– “It’s not the first arson fire that destroys the house, but the second one …” – on the de-urbanization of Detroit
As a contemporary of his sang, “I did it my way.”
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Multiple Myeloma Foundation of Canada.