My Daddy will be gone for twenty-six years this coming Thanksgiving. It's been such a long time to have been without him. I miss him and his sense of humor. He was a friendly man to everyone, warm and congenial. Every one of my friends remembers him that way.
Dad knew how to have fun and he knew how to work. Sometimes the two things were co-mingled in his doing. I don't think there was anything that he didn't attempt to fix or build himself, even if he didn't have any training to do the job. He seemed to like the challenge of accomplishing something he'd not done before. He was not a 'master carpenter', but he and my uncle, who worked as a carpenter, built a two room addition with a bath on to our house. He and my uncle also built a small four room investment home, as well. Then when it was time for us to build our first home, he was right there to help complete the interior.
He and Mom joined a square dance club when I was nearly a teenager. He wasn't much of a dancer, in the regular sense of the word, but he could square dance. He loved it so much that he learned how to become a 'caller.' He was quite busy, 'renting himself out' to Girl Scout groups and other novice dancers. He taught them simple dance moves, circle dances and reels, and line dances. Later, when he got better at his fun work, he became the regular caller for a square dance club which met each week. He did that for quite a number of years, until his lung cancer stole his breath away, making it difficult to call as fast as needed.
I would love to hear some of his silly cliches or his voice singing square dance calls or hymns. There was a man at our church with strong, bass voice who sometimes sat behind us in the evening service. I would hear Dad trying to reach as low as Tom did, but I don't think he quite succeeded. He was never quite as satisfied with his own, rich baritone voice, another challenge for him to accomplish, I guess. It makes me smile to think of that.
It's common for little girls to think their Dad was/is the best one ever, and I am no different. After all these years without him, I cannot think of anything negative to say about him! I can't remember a memory of time with him that wasn't enjoyable. He was a loving husband a fun father to his kids, a wonderful provider. Though I wouldn't think of him as a 'romantic', he did have some romance in him. One of my favorite gifts that Mom received from him is a small, smooth, wooden puff heart that Daddy whittled for her and gave to her for Christmas one year. The rest of the story is this. When the heart was nearly finished, it was somehow lost in his basement shop where he was working on it. That didn't stop Daddy, he just went to work on the second one, which is the one that Mom wears around her neck, and which will one day belong to me. Something that makes me tear up is hearing Anne Murray's recording of "Can I Have This Dance For The Rest of My Life." It always takes me back to the afternoon when it was on the radio, and Dad grabbed Mom's hand, and they waltzed together across the living room until the end of the song.
The only regret that I have of my father is that he didn't get to know his grandchildren well enough. He passed away when my youngest was nine years old, and my oldest was seventeen. He was a fun grandpa, though, while they had him, reading them fairy tales that he would alter along the way, such as "Hinderella and the Pransome Cince". He adored them all, and they loved him too. My grandchildren would have, as well, if he'd been able to stay with us a little longer.
God always knows best, and though I have faith that He does, it doesn't stop me from wishing that Dad could have lived in good health for longer than 60 years. I miss him.... Happy Father's Day, Daddy. You truly were the BEST!