by Laurean Brooks
I put much consideration into this blog before writing it. June is usually about weddings, romance, days of sunning and vacations, and time spent in or at the pool.
My first thought of June is Father's Day. I feel an emptiness as that holiday approaches because I lost my dad on the Monday before Father's Day. If he had lived two more months, he would have drawn his first Social Security check plus a Veteran's pension.
Daddy avoided the topic of World War II. It was too painful, I suppose. Only recently did I learn he was stationed in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed. We consider it a miracle that he survived. Later he had repercussions from the radiation, which I believe shortened his life.
Daddy brought back stacks of pictures taken on Guam, one of the South Pacific islands where he was stationed. Mama said his best friend was shot down standing next to him on that jungle island. Most interesting were the fierce-looking (though halfway friendly) natives with bones through their noses, horizontal paint stripes across their cheeks, wearing nothing more than grass skirts. Those pictures are still in Daddy's footlocker which has not been opened for years.
But, let's not talk about the war. I would rather talk about the Dad I knew, the father of seven children—the kind, jovial man whose silly words or actions could turn a crying child's tears to laughter. This same man could work the most difficult crossword puzzles. He subscribed to Reader's Digest and read it from cover to cover. He especially liked, “Increase Your Word Power,” and taught himself new words to supplement his elementary school education. I truly believe his passion to learn made him more intelligent than most college grads.
Daddy was a hard worker. He and Mama taught us good work ethics. Along with his deckhand job with Waterway Marines, our family planted, hoed, and picked 10 acres of corn and three large vegetable gardens. Not to mention raising and caring for livestock. But Daddy could make a game out of the most difficult chore, to the point we almost enjoyed it. Almost. Everything from picking fruit to breaking beans, and shelling purple-hull peas.
We would sit around the living room with our pans full, peeling or shelling, while Mama worked in the kitchen canning dozens of quart Ball jars when we had enough ready. All the while, Daddy sat and worked with us, elaborating on funny stories of his childhood, or embarrassing things we'd said or done as youngsters. He knew how to embellish each story until we quaked with laughter.
Daddy often repeated one story on me which I faintly remember. It went something like this: One evening when I was six, doing my homework, he asked me, “Can I go to school with you tomorrow?”
I huffed then said, “No. Daddy, you're too big.”
His eyes lit up. “Hey, I know! I could put on one of your little dresses and get down on my knees. That way I'd be about your size. Then could I go to school with you?”
“No, Daddy, you still can't go to school.”
Daddy made a frowny face. “But why?”
I shook my head and looked up at him. “Daddy, you're too stupid.”
I hope this post brought back visuals of enjoyable times you spent with your own dad. It helps ease the pain of loss and keeps the loved one in our heart when we revisit those memories.
Daddy, thanks for the laughter you brought into my life, and for the tender memories. I love you and still miss you after all these years.
Happy belated Father's Day, to all.
What do you get when the cowboy's aunt places an ad for a mail-order bride and the cowboy thinks the pretty young woman is his aunt's house help?
And, both are WRONG.
Answer: NOT WHAT HE ORDERED