June 18, 2011

The Father's Day post

My Dad was not a Leave It To Beaver father. He, like myself and everyone I know, is not perfect. He wasn't at the dinner table every night while we were growing up. My mother soloed a lot of the parenting for the 6 of us. That said, he has always been a an influence and a presence in my life, and I have some very fond memories to carry forward. As they say, I would not be who I am today, if not for who my parents were.

My Dad got up at 5am every day for over 20 years, to drive 2 hours to work. Sometimes he drove farther if he had to visit one of the plants. Sometimes he wouldn't come home until after we'd all gone to bed. It's hard to move 6 kids, and hard to purchase a new house in an expensive market when trying to feed and cloth 6 kids. My parents could have continued looking for housing closer to where he worked, but opted instead to not uproot us all from school and friends. They both sacrificed for that choice. 

My Dad never got over his parents' divorce, and vowed to never put his children through what he went through. He kept that vow. I know my parents' relationship was not always made in heaven, but they stuck it out. They will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next year.

My Dad was the driving force behind family camping trips. He would come home early on a Friday and round us all up. We had little notice to pack a weekend's worth of clothes into a pillow case, load up the trailer and station wagon, pile in with the dog in back, and head out. I didn't realize until I was older that I'd actually already visited all the surrounding states, and a few farther afield.

My Dad's love of trains allowed us to distinguish our home from all others on the street. Directions to my house included the epitaph "It's the pumpkin orange house, 5 from the corner, with the train on the front." He gave up his model train set (which filled an entire room) when I was about 7, converting the 3rd floor from that into living space for myself and 3 of my sisters. This allowed the older children to have their own rooms, something precious for a teenager in a house of 8 to have.

My Dad's love of science fiction fed my own. He subscribed to Asimov's Analog, a magazine of science fiction short stories. I would steal the new edition before he got home, reading it cover to cover before putting it back in the mailbox for him to discover.

My Dad shared his quiet moments with us. I will always cherish the summer evenings, sitting on the front porch watching a storm roll through, sharing a square or 2 of the Hershey's 1/4 lb. bar he favors.

My Dad is a sensitive guy. He once stayed up all night, writing a letter to let me know how much he loves me, because an altercation we had led him to believe I hated him. Truth is, I was just trying not to cry in front of him....

My Dad is very intelligent. He got in on computers early enough for us to have one in the house before there were hard drives or mouses. His interest in technology led him to management of an entire IT department. It also offered us one of the first Atari video game systems.

My Dad is still a pretty incredible guy, and there's a lot more to him than I'm putting in this post. He is a font of knowledge on how to fix things around the house, on history, and on current events. He's slowed down with some medical issues, but hasn't given up. He does what he can, and he plans for the future.

I love my Dad.

Dad, I love you.

Happy Father's Day.

1 comment:

misszippy said...

Awesome tribute to your dad! I'm sure you made his day.