Two fathers. Two dads. Two Friends.

Alfonso & George

Cindy’s dad - Alfonso Pompili (left) and My dad - George Brooks (right)

In 2012, not long after Father's Day, our family lost a truly great dad. Cindy's father, Alfonso Pompili, passed away at the age of 86. Fonsie or Pap, as he was often referenced by family members, had long been the patriarch of the Pompili clan and his passing was felt wide and deep. We think of him often and remember him as a man whose love of family knew no limits. I remember his hugs as being a moment of connection. They always lasted a little longer than you thought they should... as if to say, "I love you... Mean it."

Thirty-four years ago, long before I met Alfonso, my own dad left his earthly home as well. I don't think my dad had a nickname. At least I never heard him called anything other than George, dad, or grandpa. One of the neighbors called him "Big Sid" now and then, but no one else ever did.
I was 25 when dad passed away. He was 65. At the time it seemed as though he had lived a good and long life. Now, just a month after my 60th birthday, I'm realizing just how very young he was. 

Even though these two fathers - Alfonso and George - had several differences, I'm quite sure they would have enjoyed knowing one another because of their similarities. The things they had in common were the things that defined them as our dads. Their differences, like the regions of the country they were raised in, would have been of little concern.

Fonsie was born and raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, His home was always on Harner street. - a quiet neighborhood where people stopped by to say hello as he welcomed them to sit with him on his front porch. George, although born in Saskatchewan, Canada, lived virtually all of his life in the small town of Lake Stevens, Washington. Nearly 2600 miles separated the two families that these men raised and loved. Despite the distance, I was blessed to experience them both.

These two dads - hard working, blue collar, honest men - always put the needs of their families first. Within those families, their wives were the Crown Jewels and their children were their pride and joy. It was from these men that the families core values, ethics, and the determination to work hard were learned by their children. Alfonso and George modeled the behaviors each and every day. 

As for my experience, I got to love and learn from George for the first 25 years of my life. Slightly more than two decades later, I had the opportunity do the same from Alfonso. Two fathers, two teachers, two friends. 

Today is a day to celebrate fatherhood. Not the act of creating life, but the countless actions associated with shaping the lives of the people we may or may not have created. I like to think of myself as being a father to four and a dad to seven. I love every one of our children and hope that I can be the type of influence in their lives that George and Alfonso were in Cindy's and mine.

Your comments, suggestions, and stories of your personal edge are always welcome in my guest book.