I posted this story last year in honor of my Dad on Father’s Day. I liked it enough that I am posting it again this year.
Happy Father’s Day to all those who celebrate it today!
My Dad was a man of mixed impressions. He could be quick to anger and yet he loved animals of all kinds. He was soft-spoken yet when he did speak it was with authority and conviction. He was a meticulous man, very neat in his appearance and surroundings. Everything had a place and it better be in it kind of man.
He wasn’t particularly mechanical. He wasn’t the kind of man to tinker with cars. His passion was gardening. I think my dad could grow anything. I remember the time he and I had a contest with each other. Who could grow a certain kind of plant the best. We gave each other a month. I had a room upstairs and was growing plants, he had a room downstairs where he grew his. He won of course. The man just had a special touch with growing things. It was a fun contest though with lots of laughs and good times.
My dad died of prostate cancer years ago. He died on Father’s day weekend that year. He held on for as long as he could because he always took care of my mom. He was afraid of leaving her alone. In the three months he was in a hospice dying slowly day by day my mom never missed a day visiting him. Through all sorts of weather, my mom would be there as soon as visiting hours started till they kicked her out at night. Every day my dad would tell her things that she needed to do around the house. He would tell her what bills she needed to pay. Who to talk to about insurance when he passed. He tried to ready her for when she would be on her own.
That’s the kind of man he was. When he died, I was 1500 miles away and not on speaking terms with my mother. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out my father had passed till sometime in September of that year. It broke my heart in more ways than one.
My dad was the kind of man you could count on. He was reliable, thrifty, and smart. I don’t think he ever saw himself as smart. But he was. He was always reading something. Granted, most of those books were westerns. His favorite author was Lois L’Amour. But he had a small library on organic gardening also. He was organic before it was ‘cool’. He was always trying new natural ways to keep pests out. He didn’t like chemicals in his garden.
My dad and I had a lot in common. Or I should say I took after my dad in many ways. I too love to read. I always feel more comfortable inside a book than socializing. That was Dad too. I’m on the quiet side, until I get to know you. My friends may be laughing about this one, but it’s true! I also unfortunately have a quick temper like my dad. I flare up, burn out and never hold grudges. Like Dad. I have my eyes and hair from my dad too. He was 100% German. I got his coloring and not my Native American mothers.
I used to love having discussions with Dad. We could talk about anything. From discussions about God or no God. Discussions on having sex before marriage (for the record, he was all for it… ha-ha). Nothing was taboo. I loved that about him. I miss that about him.
Him and I could be in the car together going someplace and not say a single word. It was okay. We didn’t have to say anything. It was a comfortable silence. Him and I communicated when we needed to and were all right with that.
I know I disappointed my Dad too many times in my life. But, I also think he knew I tried the best I could. I don’t think he was disappointed in me as a person, just some of my personal choices. Like my ex. Oh boy, my dad did NOT like my ex! He never said anything to me though. It was all in HOW the quiet in him was, his body language. It was different when he was disapproving, then when he was just his usual self. I remember when I finally decided to divorce the ex. I went home for a while with my parents. To sort my thinking out. To get away from the ex. My dad never said anything but this,
“You have to do what is right for you, even if others don’t understand.”
I never told my dad about the abuse I suffered from my ex. I never told my family much of it at all. He would have been so hurt by it and I wouldn’t do that to dad. I loved him too much. My dad was a firm believer in that a real man never hits a woman…no matter what! He lived by that rule. I remember when my sister, then I, turned 13. My dad told us that we were young ladies now and that ladies didn’t get hit. After that we never so much as got a swat on the butt if we were bad. Believe me, his disappointment was enough punishment! That and his yelling. hahaha
Today is the day for Dads. If my dad was still alive, I would have called him this morning. And if I was lucky he would have talked to me on the phone, at least long enough to tell him “Happy Father’s Day!” My dad hated talking on the phone. Today would have been a good day for both of us.
I love you Dad.