Steve “Stef” Stefanides
As I sit here and write this many of you are scurrying around to take down your Christmas decorations and pack them away carefully for next year’s celebration. Many have even done a little strategic shopping for next year’s home or business decorating contest, while taking advantage of the big discounts on those items.
Like me, many of you have been reflecting on the events of the last year; the passing of many celebrities, the results of elections on the national or local stage and the sad goodbyes we’ve made to many of our longtime friends, and even some family members.
For me, this year marked the 50th anniversary of the passing of my dad, who passed at only 45 years of age from the terrible ravages of cancer. I can’t believe it’s been 50 years, and it was ironic that the dates all coincided this year with those dates in 1966 when he left us. This made this Thanksgiving all that more meaningful for me. For, if it had not been for the wonderful outpouring of affection and love from the community we lived in we would have had a very dismal Thanksgiving and Christmas, hence my continued commitment to that type of charitable efforts here on Marco.
I know we’ve seen a number of changes in the last year, however my thoughts rolled back to the changes I’ve seen in this last half a century since his passing. Many of those changes we tend to take for granted today, as many of us have grown up thinking they were always there.
We were just entering the computer age as my dad would pass, and then in 1977 the word “Apple” would become synonymous with something other than fruit. He would be astonished to witness the rapid evolution to where we are today and how connected we are by something now known as the internet.
I’m sure every seat would have been occupied in his barbershop on the square in Penacook, when on July 16, 1969 Apollo 11 blasted off to place a man on the moon. Unfortunately, he never got to see that magnificent feat, but would have been so proud of this accomplishment. This was only eight years after the ambitious goal was set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, which my dad would often speak about.
I laugh out loud when I think about the telephones of today and the transition away from land-lines to the cellular technology we now enjoy. I’m not sure he would of carried that “electronic leash” the majority of us now carry, but he would have loved to be able to get an update on his favorite athletic teams playing that day by simply asking thedevice.
He would be equally astonished with the salaries now being paid to professional athletes in 2017. He loved sports and was a three letter athlete at Concord High School. Although small in stature, he would excel in football, basketball and baseball. He was great friends with Robert “Red” Rolfe, who was an outstanding third baseman for the New York Yankees during the dynasty run of that franchise in the mid to late 30s as part of the 1936, ‘37, ‘38, ‘39 and ‘41 World Series Champions. Rolfe would go on to manage and be part of the front office operations of other Major League Baseball organizations after leaving the field.
I’m fortunate to be able to remember some of those conversations between my dad, both at home and at his barbershop with Rolfe. I will always be in awe of grounded Rolfe and others were that visited with my dad when they came to visit the iconic Rolfe.
My dad would also be amazed with the technology being applied in these sports, especially in golf, which he loved. He would be one of the first in the door of a sporting goods store to look at what could add another 10 yards to a drive or more accuracy to a putt, ever mind the assistance of “range finders,” or GPS devices; not that it makes much of a difference in my game.
Yes, what I wouldn’t have given to of had him or my mom enjoy the quality of life I enjoy today here on Marco, and I implore you to think about that gift you’ve been given, and worked hard to acquire.
The final item I’d like you to consider are the changes in health care which you and I enjoy. There has been a rapid development of early diagnosis of many of the diseases that took the lives of so many only 25 to 50 years ago. The enhancements in imaging such as MRI and CAT scan technology, instead of the simple x-ray which was only available to my dad.
The improvements and continued developments in treatment options, which today are available to the public might have provided us with more quality time with my dad. These changes are truly amazing and continue to provide our families, neighbors and friends with a better chance of survival.
Yes, 2016 is now in the books as we look forward to 2017. However, we must never forget the overall changes we’ve seen in the time we’ve been granted here so far. This quick reflection by me is not meant to encompass them all and I would enjoy hearing from you in what you see as the top three improvements you’ve seen in the last 50 years or so. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll publish some of those in a future column.