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DADDY WAS AMAZIN'
Today is one of those days to reflect on the past so I figured thinking about daddy was a good place to go.
Dad was not the perfect man...but he was amazin' to me...and figure he pretty much always will be. Those memories are still vivid in my heart.
Dad was a very proud man who grew up in a middle class neighborhood in Ft. Worth, Texas back in the 1930's. He knew segregation. He also knew that he absolutely loved the music down at the baptist church on the wrong side of the tracks and he'd sneak and go there so many sundays (evidently it was a huge deal that he was the only white person at those services cause he brought that point up often).
You have to know something about daddy. He had the best bass voice I've ever heard. The man could sing. I mean REALLY sing. I can't tell you how many times I heard dad and Nat King Cole or dad and Perry Como or dad and Bing Crosby. It doesn't matter how many times but I can tell you that he made them sound better than they were (and they were good). I listened always, every time he'd start to singin'...I was there...riveted. I loved it. Daddy (and mom too) gave me an appreciation for music. One that I have to this day. I can listen to just about anything and love it. But the gospel songs...soul singing...those move me always. Dad could sing gospel. He had the love of it...he had the voice for it...he was visibly moved when he sang it.
Aside from music...I have this other memory of my dad. When I was little little...aged 4 on up...I'd wake up as often as possible to see that Daddy got off to work "right" LOL.
Let me digress a bit and start at the beginning of this, Dad was a coffee addict who needed his morning cup o' joe..badly..and he would sit of a morning at the kitchen table drinking his coffee and waking up.
I don't know why, but one morning I woke up to find him sitting there at the table...all alone...with his cup of coffee. I remember he looked kinda sad and all alone there. I remember asking why mom wasn't there and he told me she didn't get up that early. I remember making my mind up to have coffee with him (ok...I had milk with a splash of coffee in it but it was coffee in my eyes LOL ) as often as I could. And so started the tradition.
All through grade school, I'd wake up early on the odd day to have coffee with daddy. We'd sit there and laugh. I always talked too much (he always called my affliction diarrhea of the mouth...god I hated the sound of that LOL ) but he didn't seem to mind my talkativeness on those mornings. He'd get his eye crinkles going (you know...the ones at the corners of your eyes that get deeper when you're laughing). It was a happy time. It was just me and my daddy. I can't tell you what we talked about...I don't remember a lick of it LOL. I do remember being there though and I remember daddy really liked me those mornings. He was more human at those times. Not so quiet. Not so aloof. He always said I was very much like him. He loved that I was smart and it never ever bothered him when I'd bring up something difficult to explain. He'd just dive into it and start to explainin' it to me. I remember every once and a bit, he'd take me to get a donut with him instead of just having the coffee. I remember he loved buttermilk bars the best. They were his favorite.
My dad was my soccer coach. Which was interesting LOL. He was also the head referee for our area. The man had interests. Oh, and he loved wrestling and roller derby. Always having been a TV addict, I'd watch those with him LOL. I was the son my dad never had LOL. My brother wasn't interested in watching or doing the stuff dad liked but for some reason I always loved it.
SIDE NOTE ON SATURDAY AFTERNOONS AT OUR HOUSE: I could've lived without Hee Haw and Lawrence Welk after the wrestling and roller derby but they were grandma's choices for good entertainment. We couldn't tell grandma that the only two programs she liked to watch during the week weren't good...just had to share that cause I remembered it and it made me giggle LOL.
Daddy was there through the paper routes. He helped me deliver them at times and helped me keep my moped in good working order when I got old enough to have one. (yes, I had big enough routes that using the moped was my only option for getting those papers out on time).
As I grew and became an adult, I still loved talking to my dad. We'd talk about so many things. Always thinking, he was, and always sage as well. He had wisdom but he didn't flout it. He was very unassuming. He didn't volunteer his gems of wisdom...you had to pull them out of him...slowly. But, they were worth it.
In 1995, my dad retired. Dad had been sick..he had gone through lung cancer, it was removed and he was doing great but he just couldn't work anymore. I didn't see dad from 1989 to 1996. I knew he had changed but his last picture that I got was him still. He just looked older...but still like dad.
I remember the metamorphisis of mom...seeing her become so different looking...but dad? No, dad wouldn't change. He was dad, right? No, not right....I was so very wrong. He did change and no one told me. In 1996, my sister got married. I flew down to Reno and got to Lake Tahoe by bus. My sister met that bus and drove me over to the hotel. I got settled in my room. Finally dad arrived and we went to see him. I was dumbfounded and I know he saw it in my eyes. I didn't know my own father. He didn't look like him. When he spoke...I knew it was him...but until then I was in flux. We made a plan to meet for dinner and I kept that smile pasted on my face until we left.
I left with my sister, cornered her in her room alone and I blew. I couldn't keep it in. I was ranting and crying. They had been there...they should have warned me. They knew what daddy looked like...they knew so well. How could they NOT prepare me? They just didn't think. They had seen the gradual change. They just didn't realize how it would hit me. They were sorry. The daddy of my youth was no longer there. He was an older man now...and very frail. I just wanted to hold onto him for dear life...but I couldn't. The weekend ended and I had to go home.
That was the last time I saw my daddy, that weekend in January 1996. By February 1997, dad was going to his last appointment regarding his lung cancer. It was a friday and they cleared him. He was now, officially, cancer free. He called me all happy and told me. My son and I had plans to go down and visit him in June. Dad would finally meet my son for the first time. We rung off with happy thoughts. That was the last time I talked to my dad.
The following monday, daddy died of a massive coronary in his bed during his nap. He was smiling.
Dad was a Mason and a Shriner. Dad was a brilliant engineer and loved building sewage plants. Dad was a passable artist and could draw dirty cartoons (they were awesome and hilarious). Dad was smart and funny. Dad was quiet and brave. Dad was opinionated and a tad bit racist (remember where he grew up...what else would he be? LOL ). Dad was a great driver and a great teacher. Dad was an atheist and loved watching billy graham. He was all those things and more. But most important of all...he was my daddy and will always be the most amazin' man I've ever had the good fortune to know.
8/26/2006 9:01 am
Spunky...thanks hon. |