Monday, June 16, 2014

Remembering Dad in the Little Things


Father's Day was Sunday. Lots of folks shared memories, pictures, and generally some really good warm-fuzzy bits of information on Facebook and other social media locales. My Dad has been gone from us for many, many years. I thought, "Why don't I share something, too, because Dad was very special?" But..... just couldn't pull myself into gear to get it done. But I got to thinking that the man that was my Dad needs to still be remembered because he was special. And then I thought about some of the things that made him special. You know the song "Little Things Mean A Lot"? Well, it is in the little things that a big man is made and the little things are captured in the memories of the mind and heart. Now, in no special order of importance or relevance, here are some little things.....
  1. Dad was not a large man. Barely hitting at 5' 8" and he was small in size as well height.
  2. Dad was sickly as a teen and that left him with limitations as a man.
  3. Dad did some boxing as a young man. He also swam. And he also did some  gymnastics.
  4. Dad loved his mother. Dad loved his father. Dad loved his brothers. Dad loved his sister. This love laid the ground work for the love he showed my mother and we three children.
  5. Dad loved God. He loved God with all his heart, soul, and body.
  6. Dad was a good son. When his father's shoe repair business faltered (already it was two-generational) because Granddad had suffered a stroke, Dad stepped up and began repairing shoes. He grew the business because his brother was at war and Grandmother wanted Dad's brother to have some work to come home to. I can still see Dad standing at the pole topped with a foot form, pounding nails or gluing soles on countless shoes. I can still hear the deafening roar of the wall of machinery that was the nuts 'n bolts of shoe repair. 
  7. Dad's hearing was bad and it is an inherited trait. But you know, listening to that deafening roar of a wall of shoe repair machinery simply compounded the hearing loss. All this was before there was any form of good hearing aids or surgeries to help, too.
  8. But Dad was there doing his part to keep the business going so a brother would have work, and one of the brothers did come home and work there. 
  9. While Dad's brothers were at war (WWII), Dad took care of his Mother and Dad as well as his own growing family.
  10. I said that Dad loved God. He also served God. He taught the men's Sunday School class for untold years. They loved his teaching and that was because Dad loved God and loved God's Word. Dad was also a lay preacher. He was very dignified in life and in the pulpit. I can still hear his voice resonate as he quoted the poem "The Touch of the Master's Hand" in one of his sermons. 
  11. Dad was very smart. Very intelligent. You've heard about the shame of a wasted mind. Dad's mind wasn't wasted because he used it. But he had so much potential and so little opportunity. What he did do, however, was seek to gain education from the resources available to him. He took a correspondence course from Moody Bible Institute and he improved his understanding and knowledge of the Bible. He also took an accounting course by correspondence. His accounting education equaled that of a four-year degree without the extra non-accounting  courses. He had no calculator and no adding machine. He had his mind and a pencil. He didn't make mistakes when he added columns. He simply got it right the first time around. And what did he do with this education? He kept "the books" for several small businesses in the evenings after he had worked all day at his regular job. Work back then was a five and a half days work week. And at night, Dad was still working adding columns of figures in his head.
But Dad was a Dad, too. We lived on the Atlantic coast and we'd go to the beach when he had a little time off. We loved the water and Dad would swim with us. I can still see him in the backyard refurbishing an old wooden 14" boat. To make it seaworthy, he applied sheets of fiberglass material which was glued or varnished onto the boat. That got all under his skin making him miserable. But there were two goals in getting that little boat seaworthy: 1) Fish a bit, and 2) Take his kids out in it for fun. We rode that boat all over the sound (and ocean, too). We learned to water ski. Dad pulled. We skied. He'd have the biggest grin  his face. I still see him with his bald head shining in the sun getting pinker by the moment, and old shirt on to keep some of the sun off. His skinny legs. And again, that big grin.

You see. Dad was enjoying his family and it was all in the little things. A stop on the way home from the beach to get an ice-cold coke (in a bottle). Being wet and sandy. Sitting on towels to "protect" the car. Dad not complaining about our being wet and sandy. Or perhaps it was a run to the Dairy Queen after evening church service or a run for hot Krispy Kreme donuts.

The little things. But remember, Dad was a small man and he loved his Mama. Well, his Mama was sickly and there were times she just couldn't get up the stairs. I'm speaking a flight of stairs - not a few steps. So Dad picked her up and carried her - though she was not a tiny lady. He carried her in his arms just like he always carried us in his heart. Because when we married and left home, he still carried us in his heart. We could see it in his eyes. He didn't have to say anything. It was there. The love, the warmth, and always the smile.

Little things mean a lot in the memory bank of life.

2 comments:

  1. Loved reading this. Thanks for writing it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really miss my Dad too. I have think about him all the time and I too have lots of fond memories.

    ReplyDelete

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