Commentary: Father’s Day 2019

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On a recent evening, I was speaking with the man in his chair, and I noticed just over his shoulder that he was surrounded by names like Hugo, Melville, Churchill, Hemingway, La Carre, Faulkner, Hadrian, Augustus and Dickens. And by no coincidence his name also appeared on the bookshelf over 40 times– and deservedly so, since he is a prolific writer and has a command of the language equal to or surpassing these other names. And he certainly has a life of adventure just like Hadrian or Augustus. He lives a life as deep, strong, colorful and full as the characters in all those books.

This man is a world traveler (visited 55 countries) and is in great health mentally and physically (knock on wood). He lives a very disciplined life. Up out of bed at 4:20am to be in the gym no later than 5:05am. He religiously practices his flugelehorn at 4:30pm sharp, then watches the nightly news over dinner, then a Netflix movie at 7pm. In bed by 9:30pm.

He doesn’t miss any appointments, always arriving early, and even ritually follows up to have his tire air pressure checked each month.

He took up running at age 40 and now at age 86 remains at the front of the pack each Saturday with the Bixby Knolls Strollers, outpacing those decades younger. He meticulously and diligently led the Literary Society for 100 months straight and returns each February for the group’s anniversary. And after stepping back from this one activity, he actually created a monthly, informal Film Society in his home.

Courtesy Blair Cohn
Gordon Cohn

His social calendar is bustling with the gym, lunches, dinners, gym friends, family events, movies, concerts and a lady friend– or “inamorata” as he calls her.

Says his life is better than ours. He wanted us to have the same life as his– growing up on the all-Jewish westside of Chicago.

He’s direct, gruff and no longer has a filter. Articulate, serious, trivia master and sometimes off color. Doesn’t do social media but will not hesitate to research online any and all subjects of interest and will share it with family and friends. Generous and willing to go the distance to help people.

Unique in his kind gestures– he would sit by me during physical therapy and read out loud from Elvis Presley’s biography. He also read me stories on his porch about the Civil War that got me hooked on reenacting.

Laughs at a good joke but loves to tell one even more– and they aren’t always clean or PC.

Mr. Cohn has a voracious appetite for life. He is a voracious reader.

He’s busy these days working on parts II and III of his autobiography. He recently wrote an essay called “Grateful,” and the long list of things included: marrying the right girl, climbing 18,000 feet to Mt. Everest base camp, being introduced to jazz at a young age and that good work gives life meaning.

I am grateful for each visit, event, dinner, Saturday stroll and each milestone we reach together. Each year.

Happy Father’s Day to a great role model, leader, champion, adventurer. Our own Hugo, Melville, Churchill, Hemingway, La Carre, Faulkner, Hadrian, Augustus and Dickens.