Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Tribute to my Daddy

Today is my daddy's birthday. He would have been 94 today. He died twenty years ago. The pain is  still as fresh as it was way back then. I've spent the entire day in tears. Grief knows no timetable.

With only a sixth grade education (he had to drop out to help his family work a sharecropper farm), he was the hardest working man I ever knew. One of the hardest lessons I learned was when I graduated high-school. I was told to find a way to go to college (meaning pay my own way) or get a job tomorrow and pay rent and utilities. I got both - worked in a sewing factory on my feet for eight hours on the night shift. Walked between the hemming machines adding pillow cases to be hemmed. Slept five hours, got up and went to college full time. Would never have happened if he had not been so tough on me. I ran out of gas on the way home from work. Was two miles from home. Of course the country store and gas station had been closed for hours. I called him. Daddy said I'd better start walking then. When I made it home, there was an empty gas cap on the table.  He said to take it with me when I walked back to fill up the car. He was a teacher of responsibility.

His grade latest gift was being content with what he had and being where he was. This quality is what I yearned to learn. In a world focused on being more, getting more, and moving up the ladder of success, I am thankful to have had a Daddy whose focus was to provide and care for his family, working hard and giving his children a strong work ethic. Never handing us things, but teaching us hard work and respectability was important to surviving. He always said just giving us money or things instead of us learning how the real world worked would not be doing us a favor. And he was right.

He was a WWII veteran, a carpenter,and a gardener. When he was young, he worked in the CCC camp so that he could send money home to his family. He was a fisherman who supplied many fish to feed our family during hard times. During that time he had a large garden that fed us all.

He had a great compassion and love for all animals, and they in turn loved him, too. I am thankful to have inherited his love for animals.

Most of all he is my Daddy and I miss him everyday!

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