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  • Writer's pictureAdventures with Jim

Memories and Experiences with Dad

I have so many happy memories and experiences I’ve shared with my dad.

My dad has strongly influenced my love of music. I think I learned to read music and play music maybe even before I learned how to read words because it was around me everywhere from such an early age. I remember singing at church with mom and dad, going to Yamaha lessons and having dad play guitar or banjo, listening to records on the “big record player”, going to bluegrass festivals and Broadway shows. As there were opportunities to get involved in school music groups, Dad took me to early morning madrigal choir practices, attended band and choral concerts, and always encouraged me to share what artists I was listening to so he could check them out, too. (I feel like digital music services must have been created by some poor father who was sick and tired of never being able to find their copy of an album because one of their kids “borrowed” it and never brought it back.) So many of my memories seem to have a soundtrack that goes along with them… family road trips in the van to Michigan and Florida (some combination of: Sesame Street classics; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Loggins and Messina), celebrating Christmas (John Denver and the Muppets), college adventures with friends and family at MSU (Dave Matthews Band, Sister Hazel, The Rembrandts, Sheryl Crow), and starting my family (Savage Garden, Feist, Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz, OK Go, The Piano Guys).

Jim and newborn Jennifer

Jim and Jennifer

My dad has also encouraged me to be a life-long learner. He’s someone who constantly challenged himself to learn a new skill (flying and earning instrument and commercial ratings, mastering new computer languages for work and personal projects, baking the “perfect” blueberry pie -- not too sweet, not too tart) or beat a personal best record by improving his technique (long distance bicycling, running the Five Points/Asbury Avenue loop, a myriad of piano pieces from scales to ragtime to classics and contemporary movie scores). He was always up for helping me accomplish a personal goal (sub 10 minute mile for softball), walking me through an advanced math problem my teachers couldn’t properly explain, or teaching me about something mechanical by working on repairing it together (new head gaskets, water pumps, and starter motors for the Maxima). He pushed me to not back down from a challenge, to dream big dreams, and to never accept “you can’t do that because you’re a girl”.

Kim, Mary Jo, McKenzie, Jim, Jennifer, Shelley

My dad has blessed my children as a grandfather. He has held them as newborns and comforted their tears, pushed their strollers through Disney World and watched them take in the wonder of Pirates, parades, and pixie dust. He’s carried them on his shoulders through zoo adventures, constructed backyard playsets, assembled duplos and legos, played their favorite board games and video games, and shared their love of Pixar and the Marvel universe. He has helped me pass on important family traditions, like a love of baking, playing card games, and pancake breakfasts. Not to mention family movie nights, especially having the kids cuddle close during the scary parts. He has helped them too to see so many possibilities for their future, whether they might want to dig up dinosaur bones or be the very first rock star/software engineer/astronaut/ geologist who travels Mars. ~Jennifer Dyni

Grandpa Jim and his grandson Colin

Grandpa Jim reading to his granddaughter Alannah

Grandpa Jim helping his grandchildren play on the seesaw

Jim, Colin, Jennifer, Alannah, and Mary Jo at Zoo Miami

Animal Kingdom for Jim's 70th birthday

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