The easy answer would be: Because he was a great guy !
The more involved answer goes as follows:
My Dad was a Captain at Sea for the German Merchant Marine. He started as a “deck scrubber” and gradually worked his way up, saving money, taking a semester or two here and there, steadily advancing in rank. He was one of the most determined people I ever knew.
My Dad travelled extensively, spoke 13 languages, had a love for life, people and good food, as well as nature and everything within it. He brought back many exotic species of plants from his trips, and if you were ever fortunate enough to experience one of his guided garden tours, he would tell you not only where he found each plant, but also the proper Latin name thereof.
My Dad was very open minded toward other cultures and people. His motto was:
“You should know enough of each language to make every person feel comfortable and appreciated”.
I have tried to live by this credo, granted it’s easy, because I just enjoy seeing folks smile. When I meet someone from another culture or language, I generally will try to pick up a word or a phrase to commit to my memory banks, and people are usually very happy and helpful (and some are tickled pink, because someone showed an interest).
Ergo, I could wish you a Good Morning in Cherokee (“Osht-sunalay”) or tell you to have patience in Ethiopian (“Tigist”), or I could simply thank you for reading this far (insert smiley 🙂 ), so let’s stick with that.