Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tribute on Father's Day

This is a doctored up re-post. Happy Father's Day to all good fathers.

In the last year, or so of her life, every time anyone mentioned my father, my mother said, "Your father was a selfish man." My father has been gone since 1984.

Dad was a gruff, man who said little about himself, but had opinions about everything. He enjoyed a lively conversation about all the things we're told not to discuss in life.

After WWII, where my father served his country as a PT boat driver in the Navy, he worked in a sawmill for 30 some plus years. When the sawmill burnt to the ground--twice--he found work doing anything to support his family, sometimes he had to work two jobs while the mill was being rebuilt.

Dad wasn't a generous man, and a buck was a hard thing for him to part with. Mom had to do a lot of penny pinching, but at least we had pennies to pinch. Even so, if a friend or relative needed a helping hand, my father held out his.

Mon was a stay at home mom. She did seasonal work in a packing house in a little, blink or you'll miss it, town. She was a talented seamstress and could sew anything, and did. She had a garden and canned fruit and vegetables that kept us fed and healthy.

Dad loved to fish and camp and surrounded himself with family and friends. What wonderful memories we had of those wondrous days.

When mom contracted Tuberculosis back in the days when they sent you away. Dad worked two jobs for nine months to pay for the hospital stay, and drove a hundred miles every weekend to visit. As a surprise, when she returned home, there was a nice, new dishwasher waiting for her. It was a big deal back then.

Later, when it was just me left at home, Dad bought a little pickup camper. When he could afford it, he upgraded to a fifth-wheel and a boat. One boat turned into a bigger boat, then an even bigger boat. He named them Sue Ann I, II, III, mine and my sister's middle names. What fun we had water skying and fishing as a family.

Dad loved his grandchildren like he never had time to love his own children. It was a surprising transformation. In all the years my dad worked, he bought savings bonds. When he died, there was a nice little nest egg to fall back on if needed.

In their empty nest days, Mom and Dad took square dance lessons. They would camp and travel with their square dance club and have a great time doing it. Sadly, that's what they were doing when he suddenly died.

Dad was all about family. He was the glue that held us together. He had so many friends and relatives, when he died, there was standing room only at his funeral.
A selfish man? I think not. In the last year or so of her life, Mom suffered a little dementia. I think she was confused, but as I write this, I can't be too angry. My dad may have been a difficult husband, after all.

This is my tribute to my father, on Father's Day. It may be late in coming, but I just want you to know, Dad, I love you.

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  1. Your post is wonderful. It reflects the complexity of relationships perfectly. The point of view from which we come has everything to do with our perceptions.

    Happy Father's Day to you and yours.

  2. This is a great tribute to both your mother and father. My mother was hard on my father also. Maybe it was the age and time. But for me. I realize how hard their lives were and hence appreciate them for what they did do.

  3. That is a wonderful tribute. My father pinched our pennies as well, but that resulted in our 15-year mortage being paid off in seven years. He also loved to camp - in Oregon! (And I know where Odell is, too!)

  4. That was a beautiful post Elizabeth, thank-you so much for sharing :)