May 14, 2011
In a couple of days if my Dad were alive he would have reached his 75th birthday. It's mind boggling to me; where friends have the years gone? Sometimes I reflect on specific vivid memories of him and it seems like yesterday and he is still with us. Yet at other times his passing seems so very long ago. As I think about him today I ponder the road of what might have been had he lived a longer life. What would he have done? With his innate intellect, ambition and courage, who knows what he would have pursued. His respect and admiration for RFK had him thinking about politics and running for office. He might have done that but my feeling is that he would have soon become quite frustrated with that because regardless of one's determination getting things accomplished in our system of politics is very difficult indeed. I have no doubt he would have been concerned today , as he was then, about social justice and the basic idea that everybody should have a fair shot at the American dream. You know, things like some kind of sensible basic health care coverage for all, a chance to receive a good education, and no discrimination based on race, sexual orientation or gender. I know for a fact that seeing the first African American President elected to office would have brought a smile to his face and touched his soul indeed!
I think its safe to say that if his health had permitted he would have continued to perform long into his later years. To anyone who watched him work a nightclub floor there can be no doubt that this was his passion and the thing he enjoyed doing the most. His intimate and amazing interaction with a live audience was something very special indeed. Dare I say that this kind of unique talent is very rare and made him one of the greatest entertainers of his, or any generation. To those who were not there to see him live , simply watch him on video and you can feel the energy and excitement come bursting out of your television! Whenever I would watch Frank, Sammy, Dean or Tony Bennett work in their later years I would always think of my Dad and how much music and performing he still had in him.
I think he also would have continued writing music and producing younger musical talent. He was not a performer who wanted other performers to fail. He was confident of his own talent and not threatened by his peers. This is a very admirable quality and one that is quite rare in the dog eat dog world of show business.
To anyone reading this or thinking of my Dad on his birthday I thank you for remembering him. Over the past few years a wonderful group of friends and admirers have done great things to honor his legacy and do good charitable work in his name. You know who you are and you have my gratitude. You have actually helped me to remember just how incredible he was as both a performer and human being. So on May 14th tip a glass and think of my Dad and what he meant or means to you. By doing this he really is still with us isn't he?
I have a couple of specific exciting things that I'm working on to keep his memory alive so stay tuned. On his birthday Steve is going to join my family and I for dinner. He would have liked that!
At this point in the story they would say to be continued. I hope so..
All the best!
Dodd and the Darin family
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