A very happy birthday to Uncle Mack today. He’s the patriarch–defined as the “male head of a family or tribe”–of our branch of the Webner family, and he celebrates a special birthday today. Of course, when you reach such an advanced age, pretty much every birthday is a special one.
Patriarchs have two crucial functions. The first is to live as long as possible, and thereby relieve younger people from the burdens of patriarch designation. Uncle Mack has fulfilled that function admirably: he’s been the family patriarch for nearly 25 years and seems pretty darned comfortable in that role. In the Webner clan where, historically, the men unfortunately have not lived to a ripe old age, Uncle Mack’s longevity is especially noteworthy. It opens new vistas of retirement opportunity for the rest of us guys.
The second patriarchal function is to pass your wisdom down to younger generations. Uncle Mack has done a good job in that category as well. He’s not only shared the lessons learned from a lifetime of experience–as well as his candid opinions on just about anything–he’s also been an invaluable source of family lore. And his willingness to always try new things, whether it’s acting, playing in a jazz combo, or taking on a legal writing job well into his 70s, is itself a valuable bit of teaching.
Happy birthday to the Patriarch! May you have many, many more.