|One of us kids wrote on this picture!|
He worked in accounting all of his life but often said he wished he had worked outside. Being the first born in a dirt poor family, they were so proud he was educated and worked in an office.
Daddy was a religious man. We were at church every time the doors opened. He enjoyed singing tenor in the choir. He was also a WWII veteran. Having been schooled in bookkeeping, he was lucky to be given a clerical position in the Army. He rarely spoke about those days. On patriotic holidays, he was called upon in church to say a few words. He could not do this without shedding tears. I always assumed he knew things or saw things or perhaps lost friends.
I have an old scrapbook made by his mother. He served while still a young man living at home. From every place he went, he sent his family postcards, photos and other memorabilia. The postcards sent at Christmastime and other holidays are particularly poignant. Serving in the Army enabled him to purchase his parents their first and only home, albeit very modest.
|A picture from the Army scrapbook.|
Daddy loved Mama deeply and treated her like a queen. No ill word, no sass, no raised voices and certainly no disrespect were allowed. His heart problems began in his 30s and I believe he had his first heart attack in his 40s. In his mid 50s he had bypass surgery. He took on the assigned task of walking for his health with gusto. Every afternoon, he'd walk for miles on the country roads around the house. When a car passed, he'd throw his hand up in an enthusiastic wave without even looking. Because you see, he also had two eye diseases and couldn't see well...but he assumed he knew them. The bypass surgery and faithful walking bought him over 10 more precious years.
He died of a massive heart infarction on Wednesday morning, July 4th 1990 after working the day before in the yard, something he enjoyed. I could not travel home quick enough. I had no opportunity to tell him goodbye or that I loved him. Mama said on the way to the hospital, he said a prayer for each of his grown children. He knew he was dying and his last words were prayers for us. We had just visited a few weeks prior on Father's Day. I remember he was tickled that my sister and I hosted a watermelon seed spitting contest out in the yard.
I can't see an American flag without thinking of him as it reminds me of the one draped on his casket. I can't hear the National Anthem and not shed a tear. He always jokingly said he wanted to be buried in a plain old pine box. And that's what we did...it was a beautifully polished pine casket.
|His last birthday.|
One special memory I have of him was on my wedding day. As we started down the aisle arm in arm, he paused me just for a moment so he could look me squarely in the eyes and say "I LOVE YOU". He was very affectionate and I had no doubt he did, but saying those words was a rare occurrence.
He loved his wife, his family, his God and his country and fittingly passed away on July 4th. My sister jokingly said "He went out with a bang!" He would had LOVED that as he appreciated a good sense of humor and relished a good joke. I still remember his laughter 25 years later.
Happy Father's Day, Daddy.