Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sam’s Old Man

I met Irving M. Stern yesterday and that made it a very good day indeed!
by Charlie Leck

I posted a photograph of my old man on yesterday’s blog and it made me a feel a bit sorry for myself. I lost my mother while I was still a teenager and my father died not too many years after that. Looking at old photographs of him is helpful to me in that they bring back memories and important sentiments.

On Friday I had lunch with a dear friend – a guy in his fifties (I’m guessing) – and his father. I enjoyed meeting my friend’s father so very much. He was so alert, charming, bright and witty! How exciting to have your dad with you that far into your life – and it looks like he’ll have him for many more years.

Irv Stern, 83 years old, former mayor of St. Louis Park and a former Minnesota State Senator, sat across from me at lunch and his face beamed with delight and adventure. We chatted about old times in Minnesota politics. Irv was an intensely involved member of Minnesota’s Democratic Party – the Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL). Yet, he listed for me Minnesota two best governors of his life time (both Republicans): Al Quie and Arnie Carlson.

Much like his son, Sam, Irv is intensely interested in what’s going on around him and he likes to get to know people beyond the surface impressions with which most people are satisfied. He wants to know who you are and what you know and what you like and don’t. As he chats with you and asks his questions, you get the sense that he cares and that he will remember.

My friend, Sam, was very proud to see how well I got on with his father. When Sam and I go places together, people are always asking him about his dad and where he is and what he’s doing. There are always happy reminiscences about times they had with Sam’s old man. Now that I’ve met him, I can understand that enthusiasm a little bit better.

You make friends with a guy like Irv one day and you count it a very good day indeed.


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