Surrounded by The Remarkable
It has been observed that fathers become clearer with the distance of time. I think that can be said of many people.
Some charismatic individuals will seize your attention immediately. I had lunch with such a person years ago and can still recall his insights, quips, and asides. He was truly fascinating. It is hard to miss certain qualities when a personality projects as easily as a smoothly hit home run.
With other people, however, years may have to pass before you realize what an extraordinary person was in your life. I recall a great aunt of mine who, after leaving Sawpit, Colorado, got her degree and started teaching school in Glendale, Arizona shortly after the First World War. She volunteered to teach a class that was mainly Mexican American and taught herself Spanish in order to teach English to her students. She captained their baseball team, umpired games, and gained unending affection from a legion of students over the years. (She later recalled a boy named Marty Robbins who squandered much of his time practicing the guitar.) After the First World War, she corresponded with and sent money to French orphans.
When she reached the mandatory retirement age in her district, she moved out to a small Arizona mining town that needed teachers and taught there. As a child, I used to have long political discussions with her - talks that I miss to this day - but I didn't realize what an extraordinary person was in the room.
Now I can see that my life has been filled with such people.