My father has been gone since 1984.
My father 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 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.
My father wasn't a generous man, and a buck was a hard thing to part with. My mom had to do some penny pinching, but at least we had pennies to pinch. Even so, whenever friends or family needed a helping hand, Dad held out his.
Dad loved to fish and camp with family and friends. Sometimes we'd tent camp, sometimes we'd sleep in the back of pickup trucks or on the ground under the stars. I have fond memories of wonderful adventures in the woods and my parents whooping it up.
My mom contracted Tuberculosis in the days when they sent you away. Dad had to work two jobs for the nine months to pay for her hospital stay. When she was released, she came home to a brand new dishwasher. 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.
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.