My sweet Dad gave up his valiant fight for life on Monday, January 19. Of course, an official obituary will run in the paper on Sunday but it is just so stiff. It’s hard to capture a life in the stiff, formal manner of obituaries so I thought I would share some thoughts on here.
My Dad was truly an amazing man though mostly just appeared to be humble and normal. For the most part, he was. He worked hard to support his family, he was kind and patient and followed the rules.
But there was so much more. Growing up with him was a true blessing for me. He was the kind one and didn’t like the discipline part of being a father very much. He had the patience of Job as he managed to teach me to drive and when my own politics began to develop, vastly different from his own.
He blessed me with so many East Texas “country” sayings that I find myself using them in the work place today to the shock and awe of younger team members.
Dad was funny. He had a way of teaching life lessons without being harsh. When I was blessed with a car, he made me learn to change the tires and the oil. “If you are going to have a car, you have to know how to take care of it”, he would say. Don’t ask me to do this today but I was whiz at it through my college years.
Dad was a chain smoker and that is what took his life in the end, though he hadn’t smoked in more than 30+ years. He wanted to make sure I didn’t pick up the habit. When he picked me up from school in the 6th grade and saw some friends smoking (hey it was the 70’s), he asked me if I might want to try one. He and my Mom both smoked so I said sure. He made me inhale that thing until I threw up and I never wanted a cigarette again in my life. That was how he handled things.
As a young adult, I leaned on my Dad for financial and career advice. My hard work ethic came from him. He worked hard and considered it a priorty to support your family. He was dedicated and pulled double shifts at the plant anytime he could. He would tell me it would mean more money for college. In the last few years, he would tell me I worked too much and I would remind him where I learned it.
When my child was born, it was probably the greatest thing that had happened to him. Becoming a grandfather was the highlight event of his life. He rejoiced in that kid and spoiled her rotten. He would sit on the floor for hours playing with the child and later initiated weekly trips to McDonald’s. No one could take the kid to McDonald’s but him so it was a real treat. As she grew, he rejoiced in her every achievement.
Most of all, my Dad was kind. His kindess permeated everything he did. He was always kind and would stop to pick up a puppy off the side of the road or to help one of the neighborhood boys who might not have been so blessed as I was. As he moved to eldercare, he was kind to everyone and they all treasured him.
I was so lucky to grow up with my Dad. I thank my lucky stars for him every day. He helped make me the person I have become.
And that, my friends, is how the “cow ate the cabbage.”