Happy Father’s Day, James Walter Hawkins
1. A cultured man of the Renaissance who was knowledgeable, educated, or proficient in a wide range of fields.
2. A present-day man who has acquired profound knowledge or proficiency in more than one field.
My father, Jim Hawkins, has been described as a “renaissance man.” It wasn’t always so, of course, but I was around during the years that he amassed knowledge, education and a multitude of skills. When I was born in 1950, he had no education other than a high school diploma, acquired while holding a part-time job working nights on the railroad. Throughout his life, my father worked hard and, at age 84, he is thriving in Milton, Ontario. Thanks to his example, I learned about applying myself and pursuing excellence.
I was 11 when my father went back to school to obtain a degree and teaching certificate. This was a breakthrough in his love affair with knowledge, reading, the arts and humanities. Thanks to his encouragement, I excelled at spelling, was valedictorian in Grade 8, studied Latin and languages, and shared his delight in the humour writing of Stephen Leacock and bawdy tales of Chaucer. My father nurtured my appreciation of words and thanks to him I became a writer.
Following in the musical footsteps of my father playing trumpet, I took piano lessons as a child and played the fiddle as an adult. Through hikes in Algonquin Park and long distance swimming, my father was a role model for keeping fit in the playground of nature. Through the homes he built, gardens he landscaped, and works of art he created in wood and stained glass, he made the world a more beautiful place.