From the December 2010 magazine.

Game changer

A hard-drinking father finds spirituality in the bottom of the ninth

MY father was my hero. Actually, he still is, even though he passed away in November of 2005. He was a man of great character and integrity and had an incredible sense of humor, which he maintained right up to the very end of his life. Shortly before he died, when he was in the final stages of emphysema and struggling to breathe, my mother tried to comfort him. "Joe, we are so lucky," She whispered (speaking of the 43 years of marriage they had shared). He just looked up and without missing a beat remarked, "Yeah, if I could breathe, I'd be whistling."

That was my father, quick-witted and always with a smile on his face. He could make me laugh at the drop of a hat, and our daily phone calls always consisted of lots of funny stories and lots of love.


Alexandria, Va.

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