Saturday, January 21, 2006

Daddy on My Mind

Several different journal entries I have been to lately have brought back vivid memories of my Daddy.  So, I decided that I'd like to reminisce about him a little.

He was one of fourteen children.  Dirt poor cotton farmers.  His own father died when he was in High School, so Daddy had to drop out and work as one of the oldest sons.  He went into the army for WWII.  Never spoke much of those days.  Except when the movie the Battle of the Bulge would come on TV.  Then he'd be agreeing and disagreeing with its accuracy, as he fought there.  I overheard him sharing with a nephew who was having nightmares after Vietnam how the infantry lined up and marched across the fields, ahead of the tanks and artillery.  Seems to lose one man (maybe two) on foot was more efficient than to lose 5 men in a tank along with the support it provided should a land mine be in the path.

Daddy came back to the states and got into heavy duty equipment operating.  He was union and proud of it.  He worked in and visited every state except for Alaska and Hawaii.  His sisters used to tell me how he'd be home and have a little money, he'd take them to the picture show.....he sat outside on the sidewalk and talked with passersby.

Daddy loved good conversation and playing straight dominoes.  He was very good.  I played him many times, but never beat him.  After two or three plays he could tell you every domino in your hand!

He married, but never had a child.  They ended up divorced.  I don't know why really.  Then he met Mama, who had more or less been abandoned with two little girls by her first husband.  He married her for her homemade buttermilk biscuits.  Daddy bought Mama's wedding ring, a pearl necklace for her, and her dress, shoes, purse for the wedding.

Eleven months later they had me!  Head full of hair that stood straight up.  But Daddy thought  I was something else.  Mama always said that Daddy thought the sun rose in my head and set in my feet.  He carried me all over the place, lying on a pillow in the front seat of the car, showing me off. 

He taught me to ride my bike.  Expected me to always do my best.  Showed me by example that all people were people and should be treated as such.  Loved to watch a good "shoot'em up."  Had me watching pro football with him when I was about 7 years old on until he died.  I remember when Johnny Unitas was the hottest quarterback going.  Daddy always acted silly for my friends when they would come over.  Would tell fairy tells all mixed up together, while making the biggest funniest faces.

Daddy bought an old jenny when I was young and started to raise a garden every year.  Jenny outlived him.  They would plow a round or two, stop and Daddy would smoke a Marlboro while Jenny had a bite or two of grass.  He could grow the sweetest watermelons you ever tasted.  And get more potatoes per hill than anyone I've seen since. 

He taught me to believe I could do or be anything I wanted to be.  But cut me short for any thing that sounded like "Well, I'd never!"  He'd shake his head and very seriously say, "Never say never.....you have no idea what life might give you."

One of the last things he ever taught me to do, before he became sick with cancer, was to drive.  He wasn't satisfied that I could take a car down the road.  Oh, no.  I had to take it half way up the steepest hill he could find, come to a complete stop, and then start off again without jerking, dying or spinning a tire.  (This was a standard transmission, mind you.)  And then there was the narrow little lane he had me go down.  Just wide enough for one car.  Steep ditches on either side.  Said "Stop."  a piece down it.  Then, "Okay, turn around."  I just looked at him like he was crazy at first.  Then I realized by the look on his face, we were going to do it.  Back and forth, forwards and backwards, inch by inch (no power steering, mind you.)  But I did it!  And have had to use that skill many times in my life.  I think he knew even then he wouldn't be around to bail me out of a tight fix.

But the lessons kept coming, even a year or more after he passed away.  Every so often there would be a knock on our front door.  Some ordinary working man standing on the porch.  "Just got back in the area."  Or, "I know it's been longer than I said."  But the reason was always the same.  To pay back the money that Daddy had lent to them.
 
I am proud to be my Daddy's daughter.  And I am proud my husband chose to name our son after him.  And  he is the spitting image of my Daddy at his age.  I think he may just measure up to be somewhere near the man he was, too.

20 comments:

  1. your Daddy sounds like a very fine man.   I would liked to have known him.

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  2. what a great tribute to your dad!

    betty

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  3. Your Daddy sounds like quite a man. Thanks for sharing your memories of him. Paula

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  4. aww how blessed you were to have such a dad. thanks for sharing

    angelrose

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  5. I am in tears after reading this and during. He did just what a Daddy should do. What a great man he was.
    ~ Jenny

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  6. that is so sweet.  your memories about your daddy are so presious. thanks for sharring.. you were blessed having a father like that " )

    and what is a Jenny?? a mule? lol

    much love,
    Mary

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  7. Oh how lucky you were to have a Daddy like that, I really didn't have any type of father figure growing up, my Dad and my Mom were divorced and we didn't see him too much.  We did have some good times, but not enough.  I'm glad you have such wonderful memories of your father.  Linda

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  8. You had a wonderful Dad, Glad you have those good memories of him. Helen

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  9. Your father was certainly a good and loving person.    mark

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  10. hello friend oh that brought tears to my eyes how sweet so glad you have such lovly memories of your dad have a good weekend God bless kelley

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  11. What wonderful memories, I could picture as I was reading. He certainly sounds like a very special person and I know he will always be with you.  Ask his advice on whether you should give up the internet or not, I think I know what his answer would be.

    http://journals.aol.co.uk/jeanno43/JeannettesJottings/

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  12. BARBARA (MY SISTER IN JESUS ), SOME TEARS CAME TO MY EYES WHEN READING THE ENTRY OF YOUR DADDY.
        HE HAD THE MOST PROLIFIC IRISH POTATOS.  THAT BROUGHT MEMORIES OF MY DAD.
       ONE SPRING BEFORE ANY GARDENS HAD POTATOS READY TO DIG, DAD CAME HOME WITH ' NEW POTATOS ', BOUGHT AT THE FARMER'S MARKET IN TULSA.TRUCKS HAD BROUGHT THE POTATOS IN FROM THE SOUTH, REALLY NICE RED POTATOS, THE KIND THAT WERE SO GOOD WHEN COOKED WITH EARLY ENGLISH PEAS AND SMOTHERED WITH GRAVY.
       DAD TOOK THE BUCKET OF NICE LITTLE POTATOS DOWN TO THE GARDEN AND BURIED THEM IN THE POTATO ROW.
         THE WAGON TRAIL RAN ALONG NEXT TO OUR GARDEN.
     DAD SAID, SAM, YOU WATCH AND WHEN YOU SEE THE LANE FAMILY COMING FROM TOWN IN THEIR WAGON, CALL ME.
        HERE THEY CAME AND I HURRIED DOWN TO THE POTATO PATCH WITH A DISHPAN AND HOE AS DAD HAD INSTRUCTED.
       AS ALWAYS THE LANE FAMILY SAID WHOA AS THEY PULLED OVER TO VISIT.
    DAD HAD TOLD ME, HOLD THE PAN SO THEY CAN SEE THOSE POTATOS AS THEY FILL THAT PAN.
          ' SHADY LANE ' TOLD DAD HE DIDN'T KNOW POTATOS WERE READY YET.
    NEXT DAY ONE OF THE LANE KIDS TOLD ME THAT HIS DAD DUG UP SEVERAL FEET OF A POTATO ROW AND FOUND NOT EVEN ONE POTATO.

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  13. Barbara- That was beautiful!  Ill bet he's smiling right now, sayin' that's m' girl!  Reading it reminded me of my Father in Law, who passed away 5 months after my little guy was born.(Feb.  2001)  I miss that Man very much- He sound's a lot like your Daddy!  It also reminded me of my own Dad- another great man.  He is still with us, but so far away! 2000 miles is a long way- thank God for e mail!  I miss him, but I'm grateful that I can still talk to him, and hear his voice when he says, 'heloo Carrie!, or hiya Skeezix!  ( I call my guy Skeezix now)
    Different worlds between him and my Father in Law, but their hearts are the same!  Bless you for letting me see your Dad too.  Love Carolyn!

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  14. That was a wonderful entry!  Sounds like your dad and mine had a lot in common.  My dad was the 10th of 12 children; his father died when he was five; he was in the Navy in WWII; he died of cancer three years ago.  I'm glad you shared those memories with us; made me feel good.
    Lori

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  15. That was one of the most touching entries I have ever read Barbara!  Your daddy sounds like he was a wonderful man.

    Terra

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  16. One of the best entries I've seen from anybody lately!

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  17. Very touching entry. I adore my dad as well. I thank God for his health and that he is still with me. He hung the moon LOL
    Terrie

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  18. Barbara, that was so beautiful. You painted a loving portrait of your father. It's good to write these things down for posterity. I hope you have it written on paper, perhaps in a journal where your son and granchildren can someday read about their grand dad. It's so very important to pass this on, in your voice, in your handwriting. I like to write in plain old composition notebooks, they are sewn together, and they are just the right size for carrying around, and for adding to the bookshelf when you are finished writing. I have about twenty filled up by now. However, since I started blogging, I haven't penned even a sentence on paper. I'll probably regret that someday. I loved reading about your dad. Especially how he taught you how to drive... my dad taught me how to drive in a similar fashion. I was terrified at the time, but now I know it was the best thing he did for me. I learned on straight shift, too.   I hope you aren't gone long from the blogging experience. Thanks for visiting me in mine. I'll be back to check up on you. Bea

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  19. What great memories of a wonderful man.  He is still watching over you and the love that you two share will always be there. You will meet again in Heaven and he will be so proud of the way you lived your life. Barbara

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  20. As I was responding to your "D" post for the April 2016 A to Z blog challenge, I saw this post listed in your sidebar. I tried reading some of it to my husband, but I started crying at the part where you said, "But Daddy thought I was something else. Mama always said that Daddy thought the sun rose in my head and set in my feet." My husband says that's how my daddy felt about me, too. He died just after his 71st birthday on 9 December 2012. The grief is still so raw. I can't even read the word "Daddy" without tearing up...Talking about him always brings tears. I am so glad that you had such a wonderful relationship with your daddy. My daddy had his faults, as we all do, but I loved him very much. We never get too old for our daddies, do we? Thank you so much for sharing this here, for me to find so many years after you wrote it. It just goes to show that we never know when our words will touch somebody. We have to put them down...someone somewhere down the line will need to read them.

    Thank you again. Have a blessed day!

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So glad you stopped by! Come 'round any time. ~ Barbara

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