A life honored.
Happy Father’s Day to all the great Dads out there, both in and out of my own life.
My childhood was sweet, largely due to my father. My Mama and I were close but it was my Daddy I connected with the most. He was my hero. He still is. He met my mother through family. She and his sister were roomies, kind of a Lucy and Ethel setup; and their stories were funny. But this is not their story. At that time my Daddy was in the Navy, and my Grandfather met my mother, deciding she was the right woman for one of his five sons. They corresponded via mail while he was still enlisted and fell in love when he came home after his service.
I loved (and still do) to hear his stories about those Navy days. Being enlisted between conflicts allowed him to travel on a carrier ship as store clerk and see Japan, Hawaii and the Phillipines. But his heart was lost when he went to Alaska. I think part of it remains there. He always said he would go back but, sadly, life did not allow for that dream to play out thus far. He is 82. If I had the means I would take him myself!
Growing up with my Dad was about honesty. He didn’t mince words and taught me early how to laugh at myself. What’s not to love about a man who will don a hula hoop just to show his kids how it is done?
Or take his kids to the park on a Sunny California Sunday.
I loved to hear my Dad talk about his growing up years, happily lost in the glow of the 50’s, his stories so good I actually envied him that time of innocence before the glare of Vietnam bore down on the 60’s. His high school was the oldest in Baton Rouge.
My Dad grew up on the river in Louisiana, his father a fisherman, and his parents had a small grocery store in town in later years. He told us all of his ‘poor child’ stories with the rich joy of someone who loved his life in spite of its challenges. Every Christmas we heard about the lean years when he got firewood in his Christmas stocking and the one time he got new pencils. He described their walking to school and taking a shortcut through the wet woods and hearing water mocassins hissing with each step.
He described the flooding of their little house when thr river crested beyond its banks and having to leave until it receded. Then his Mama would just sweep out the mud and debris and start all over. He told me how he and his brothers often had to go to town to fetch his daddy before he spent his paycheck on frivolous things. I think he liked to gamble a bit.
A closer look will show he has holes in those shoes right at the toe. They were hardworking, loving people. The 50’s were prosperous compared to their own growing up years.
I always remember my Daddy smiling through it all. I can still hear the chinking of his cane knife on Saturday morning as he hand trimmed the grass from the sidewalk after he mowed. It was my job to fetch him glasses of ice cold water, even though my mother scolded that drinking cold water in the heat would give him a heart attack. I always got him what he wanted because this was the man who would bring me a glass of ice water in the middle of the night if I called out. I loved the sound of the ice tinkling in the glass as he swirled it, making it cold for me. To me that is what love sounds like. He was always there for us, for the big moments, like a first step…
He still mows his own grass at 82 and still has the same smile.
My mother passed away some years ago and he has had another wonderful lifetime with my stepmother and friend, Ruby. Coco, their puppy in this photo, is gone now too but they have a new ‘baby’ named Sprinkles. He treats his puppies with all the love and adoration that he treated us growing up. I have too many photos and too many memories to share in one post but we love you Daddy. Never forget that!
Happy Father’s Day! 💕
And here are a few other great fathers I know. If you tap and hold the photos you can read the captions.