Fathers Day

Also, recent posts: Canada and Gratuitous Force.

Happy Day to all, whatever your personal relationship to the term “Father” might be.  I specifically remember, this day, Marshall, who died March 30, 2023, at the doorstep of 87 years.  Marsh is survived by Karen, two daughters, grandkids and a constellation of other relatives and friends.

My vivid memory of Marsh was not long after he and I met in 1982.  He had just learned the location of the gravesite of his first ancestor in Canada, which we (Dad, Marshall’s spouse, and three other voyageurs) then visited at the Cimitiere Mont-Royal on Mount Royal in Montreal.  All of us, except Dad,  were in our 40s.  Time flies.  Bon Voyage, Marsh.  Memories….  Here’s a recollection of Marshall from 2015.


Age is an endless accumulation of experiences of all kinds.

Friday morning I was doing my usual walk around the indoor soccer field near home and onto the field came a green monster which sounded ominous and looked like a gigantic grasshopper.  Slowly it crawled, and then it stopped.

Another walker, a lady in her 90s, a friend, was resting and I stopped and said “what would our ancestors think about this?”  We chuckled.

I asked the crew two-man crew what was going on, since I saw nothing obvious.  Matter of fact: “Ventilation fan problem”.  Its four feet planted firmly, the monsters ‘hand’ rose to the ceiling about 40 feet up, carrying its operator.  Mission accomplished, down it came, and crawled back where it had come from.

So much for the excitement on Friday morning.  (Here’s what the green monster was.)

Continuing the walk, I passed another walker, a man, an older friend I see frequently, who walks slowly with two walking sticks, and seems to have a limit of maybe 200 feet before needing to rest in place, but is indomitable, every day doing a few rounds.

What did he think?  What he’d seen reminded him of when his job was de-icing aircraft at Twin Cities International Airport.

He knew the drill from  long work experience.

What we watched, our ancestors, not all that far back, likely couldn’t have imagined.  It was another reminder of the cumulative nature of human progress.  Among all of the species, we do not seem to have boundaries on what we can accomplish.  We each have our own particular gifts.

Not everyone has exceptional talents in whatever area, but some do, and the accumulation of knowledge has served us well.  We routinely experience, what others could not even imagine generations back.  Individuals and groups among us  invent things, while “wily coyote” and other mammals are stuck with certain intellectual boundaries.


The retired de-icer gentleman mentioned earlier had a career I wouldn’t have imagined him doing in his younger years.

Next time I see him, probably Monday at the same place, I’ll recall for him my friendship with Myron Tribus, possibly one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met, whose career started collecting eggs on the family farm in northern California in the 1920s, and ended with a prestigious position at MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

When I met Myron, he was retired from MIT, and we were on an education policy discussion group moderated by the National Education Association.  This was in the 1990s.

At some point, on a side chat, Myron was remembering WWII days and Minneapolis when he was an officer in the Army,  a young engineer assigned to a group testing assorted schemes for de-icing aircraft.  Minneapolis was an obvious place to field test their technology – weather.  He said their experience had been written up in Time Magazine at the time.  I looked it up, and sure enough – here it is: Tribus Jan 14, 1945 Time Magazine.  In fact, I found two articles on the topic – the second in the Reader’s Guide for 1943.  I sent both to Myron, then in his 80s, and he enjoyed the memories.

Myron died in 2016.  I am richer for having known him.


This musing space of mine has always been ‘Thoughts Towards a Better World’.  I have two thoughts on this one on this Father’s Day 2023.

  1. Little things mean a lot.  In some small  way, the simple action on Friday gave an unexpected  positive connection between several people – a connection neither expected nor dramatic, along with an example of progress over the centuries, one generation building on previous generations.
  2. But with this comes a caution:  progress is happening so quickly now that we may well be setting ourselves up for possible future serious problems if we aren’t careful.  Things like Artificial Intelligence have raced far ahead of our understandings of the technology, or societies management of it.  This reminds me of the forever childrens game of seeing who can make the highest stack of blocks.  Here’s an on-line example. The stacks can get pretty high, but a point is ultimately reached where it collapses.  We don’t want this to happen.  We have to manage progress so as to permit it to continue.

Happy Father’s Day.

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