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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Father's Day


I know that I’m late for Father’s Day.  It was ten days ago, but I’m going to tell you about my dad anyway.

Dad married relatively late in life for the times.  He was thirty-two.  He’d had lots of living done before he met my mom.

Even after they met and married, Dad did lots of different things in an effort to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.

He was a trapper (yes, Virginia, just like in the western movies), a cowboy, an airfield warden, a hod carrier for a cinder block company (no, I don’t know what a hod carrier is either.  My mom told me it was very hard physical labor) and a county road equipment driver.

All of these things he did with an eighth grade education.  Am I advocating quitting school in the eighth grade?  Not at all.  I’m a big proponent of education.  What I am advocating is having drive to succeed.  My father succeeded despite his lack of education not because of it.  I’m sure he would have liked to finish school, but he had to quit and get a job to help support his parents and siblings.  And there were a lot of siblings.  Dad was one of thirteen children, the second oldest of the group.
He had no choice in what he did.  He was always there to help his siblings.  Even on the night he died.  I was five.

We were coming home from my uncle’s house and it was Dad’s 51st birthday.  I don’t know if we had gone there to celebrate it but knowing my parents, we were there to help my uncle with something, not celebrate Dad’s birthday.

Dad wasn’t feeling well so Mom drove home.  Dad sat in the middle and I sat next to the door and my little brother, who was three at the time, was curled up on the floor board of the car asleep.
I remember getting Dad’s pills from the glove compartment.  Apparently, according to my Mom, I also told him that we would get him some gingerale when we got home and he would feel better.  You see, whenever I was sick Dad brought home gingerale to make me feel better.  It was an extravagant treat and we only got it when we were sick.

Only gingerale wasn’t going to help my Dad.  Neither were the nitroglycerin tablets that I gave him from the glove compartment.  You see, Dad was having a massive heart attack and nothing at the time could have saved him. 

I have very few memories of my dad that are my own and not something someone else told me.  The one memory I do have is the night he died.  On his birthday at age 51.  It’s blazed in my memory, so that now, fifty one years later I can still see, hear and feel the things that happened on that ride home.  A ride that changed my life forever.

4 comments:

Elysa said...

Sounds like even though he left you much too early you have some wonderful memories of him. Fathers are amazing people. They're a boy first role model and a girl's first love.

Norah Wilson said...

Oh, Cynthia, what a lovely post and lovely tribute to your dad.

Roxy Boroughs said...

Wow! I'm so sentimental when it comes to parent stories. My dad died Aug. 4, 2004. He was my hero, and I miss him every day.

Thanks for sharing, Cindy.

Carol said...

Cindy, such a heartwarming post. I'd loved to have known your dad.

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