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Father's Day Tribute: A Healthy Spirit

Posted by Joe Antle on June 18, 2018 11:55 AM EDT
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Even though Father's Day was celebrated officially yesterday, I wanted to pay tribute to my father-in-law for his lively spirit and his ability to overcome health challenges......

...throughout his whole life.

As a sort of side note, my father-in-law has always told me that he felt that the reason he has been able to face and overcome adverse health challenges that have surfaced from time to time in his almost 85 years of living has been attributed to his name.  Not that his name is some magical, mystical sort of thing...or that he is named after some famous person or health inventor.  He has always laughed and said that good health always seems to follow men and women who have three first names as their formal names.  

His name is Everette Allen Floyd and his sense of humor, hard work ethic and willingness to put other people's needs ahead of his own have made him a remarkable person on their own rights.  But his ability to beat cancer twice, and to overcome the effects and life-threatening circumstances from a major heart attack have made me begin to wonder if there was something about his values and way of living that have contributed to his long life.  Or was it just luck of the draw, or great genetics at play, to his great benefit.

As is usually the case when the family gets together, yesterday Everette was his usual good-spirited self.  Giving great advice about yard care, gardening tips and things to avoid eating.  He was quick to listen to all and offered his opinions as a support to others' opinions.  Ever the diplomat and good conversationalist, an afternoon spent with Everette will almost certainly really brighten everyone's perspective.  As it did mine, and the other houseguests we had yesterday.

Everette has been a big eater his whole life, drank more than he should (but never drank too much), smoked cigarettes heavily until he reached his mid-forties and stopped smoking entirely and works hard and worries a bit.  But it is in his general demeanor and his love of people, conversation, reflection on things that are right in the world and things that are bound to get better, that some of the secrets to Everette's long and happy life begin to surface in my opinion.  

So, as we honored Everette, our father (mine for the better part of the forty years I've been married to his eldest daughter, having lost both of my parents to earlier than expected deaths) I found myself trying to discern what were the keys that I could adapt to my own life.  And what were best practices I could consult and share with others?  I do believe that genetics help (his twin brother is his age, and their mother lived until the ripe old age of 96, independently until the final few years).  A good work ethic doesn't hurt.  And a love for good food, reasonable exercise, staying active, and good conversation don't hurt.

In the end, I think it's also a bit about putting others ahead of one's self that really seems to be the secret.  I don't know that there's any science yet to prove that...or that there is "evidence-based" clinical proof that if one lives a life based on the "golden rule" that their own life will be fulfilled and longevity assured.  I do believe, however, that I have never met a very old person whom I ever felt didn't deserve to live a long life.  In Everette's case, undoubtedly part of his secret to a long life and one in which he has faced health challenges in which he overcame, lies in his positive attitude and his will to live-fully.  And his desire to make his interactions with others he meets and interacts with daily a little more pleasant.

I hope he will continue to live a long and healthy life....and that my family and I and his other friends and family will be there to enjoy it with him.

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