Dad’s birthday spurs creative juices
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
I want to dedicate this day to my forever young dad Vaclav Konecny who turns 81 today. He was born in Brest, Czechoslovakia on July 23, 1934 to parents Anezka & Antonin Konecny. He is the older of the two remaining siblings with Aunt Martha Pink. Both claim the original residence as Stipa near Zlin.
He is the behind the scenes character who along with my mom Ella inspired the memoir “Greenwich Meridian” about the family immigration saga that now spans three generations.
Dad continues to inspire me with his humor and sometimes cranky optimism and sarcasm. He is what I call an atypical Leo. Dad has the strength of the Leo, as well as his leadership and determination to carry out projects to his liking.
But, he is not by any stretch of imagination a show off in the regal colors of golden and purple like the king of jungle or King Vaclav he is named after. On the contrary, dad is truly the entire support system behind a spectacular show.
However, during his tenure as math professor at Ferris State University from 1980 until 2001 in Big Rapids, he did play the role of the lion in front of the blackboard.
“You know you have to put on a show,” he always told me.
Students laughed at him, but colleagues admired him then as much as they do now.
Dad can make people around him flourish putting them at the center of attention instead of himself.
One time at a university party, dad hit a conversation with a complete stranger.
“Who was that,” mom asked.
“He is a dentist,” dad laughed.
“What did you talk to him about?” she watched him closely.
“About teeth, of course,” he laughed again.
At 81, he can strike magic with any female whether at a party, while wintering in Florida or at a perfectly authentic Spanish or Mexican restaurant. Maybe, that is where his lion’s character shows the best.
“Women admire him,” mom says.
Yes, dad is likable. He is witty, funny, talented and creative. Who ever has said that math or physics are boring, just never had the pleasure of meeting my dad. Vaclav Konecny studied physics in Brno and later took on math.
A life-long learner himself, dad studied computer science at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, while teaching full-time math at Ferris. During the turbulent times of the 70s, dad took to the canvas and painted his oils from mosques in Sudan, Niagara Falls to Saguaro cacti in the national park in Arizona.
Many years later he found love in languages, Spanish and French. Both, mom and I watched him in awe freely communicate with Mexican wait staff and owners at different restaurants.
I don’t know, but I have a valid feeling that his favorite food is Mexican or Spanish even though he will not admit that in front of mom.
He has the vitality of a 30-year old not quite grown up man. His persistence lets him drive 1,367 miles from Big Rapids to Venice, Florida.
His innovation spirit can take him anywhere. He closes his eyes and imagines new routes and new paths to mathematical solutions.
“He’s solving problems all the time or counting the number of people in pews,” mom says.
Dad is a perfectionist at the expense of being disappointed with the imperfection of others. He is a true gentleman with manners from the court and always lets women go first.
I always ask myself this question when mom dictates what’s going to happen next:
“Is mom really the true boss in the Konecny household?”
She appears to be, and dad wants it that way to stay in her shadow with his quiet personality hiding the lion’s strength.
But, dad has been the driving force behind the family happenings over the last 47 years since we have ventured out over the Atlantic pond.
Thanks dad for being the modern captain on this bold voyage, for showing us the world, for broadening our horizons and for creating endless surprises.
Emma & the family
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