My Dad….

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If you ever wondered where I got my sense of humor and my storytelling abilities, this is the man who passed those traits on to me. You probably can also tell there was no way he could deny me. I look most like him minus the red hair. My daddy was the baby in a group of 5 siblings. His mother died when he was 2 and back then men had a very difficult time making a living. This was during the depression. My grandfather had to travel around to find work so his first thought was to put the kids in an orphanage. My great grandmother and great aunt said no, bring them to us and we’ll raise them. The oldest of the bunch was 9 and Daddy was 2. My uncle, who was the oldest and a big bully most of his life, died a week and a half before my dad did. Daddy was dying of pulmonary fibrosis and could not attend his oldest brother’s funeral as he was bedfast and on oxygen with only a few days left. Since he couldn’t be there, he asked my cousin to read this story at my uncle’s funeral and then when we had my dad’s funeral a couple of weeks later my cousin read this story again. When my daddy and uncle were kids my Uncle Bob wanted some watermelon and knew exactly where he could find one. He asked my dad to come outside with him. They wandered out of the yard and Uncle Bob told him the plan. So they walked to a local farmer’s watermelon patch and started thumping melons trying to find the perfect one. Before they could the local farmer was yelling and running their way. Uncle Bob told Daddy to run. Daddy knew they weren’t supposed to take a melon and had been nervous the entire time anyway. So when Bob told him to run Daddy took off as fast as his little legs could carry him. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same path they’d taken to the patch. He ran thru the patch, thru a field and thru some trees and before he knew it he ran right into the middle of a hobo camp. Well, they were scared of hobos and so Daddy kept on running and found himself sliding across an oil patch. By the time he got home he was a horrible mess. His grandmother peeled his clothes off and gave him a good bath while demanding to know what on earth had happened. Daddy told her the story and she put him in clean clothes and told him he needed to take a nap. Instead of putting him in the bed, she put him on the floor on the other side of the bed so he wasn’t in view. Shortly after Daddy drifted off to sleep Uncle Bob came into the house. He wandered around not saying a word looking to see where Daddy was. When he realized he wasn’t at the house Bob broke into tears. His grandmother asked him what was wrong. He sobbed and told her the hobos must’ve gotten daddy. We don’t know how long she let him believe the hobos got him, but I guess that was her way of teaching Bob a lesson of not involving Daddy in his misdeeds. lol Daddy was pulled out of high school at the age of 18 during World War II. He was drafted into the army and the picture above was taken in boot camp. He was a slim tall drink of water with a thick head of carrot red hair. He was in the Aleutian Islands when the war ended. Shortly after, he was discharged and sent back to Oklahoma. It was a special exception as many young men were pulled out of high school to go fight in the war so he was allowed to return to his classes. Fast forward a few years and he was working for the telephone company as a lineman. He didn’t realize he would work there for the rest of his working life. That’s rare to see in this world today. A couple of years after he started working for the phone company his knee started bothering him. He had to go into the hospital for knee surgery. Good thing, that is where he met my mother. She was a student nurse. They married about a year and a half later and not too long after that I came along. He always told the story of how I was about the size of a quart milk carton. He said he could hold me in one hand and that I had the hiccups when he brought me and Mama home from the hospital. He pulled my first tooth and most of the other ones. He taught me how to say the Pledge of Allegiance and how to spell my name before I started school.  He taught me how to hula hoop and how to ride a bike.  He was the one who gently told me to go see what my mother was doing when I asked my 55th question while he was working in the garage.  He was the one who helped me with that “new math” homework.  It was his lap I’d sit on while we munched on popcorn and watched Route 66 and Rawhide on tv. It was his shoulders I was riding on when we went to the Fort Worth zoo and I saw a snake pit for the first time in my life. It’s a scene I’ll never forget. He was the one who held me and rocked me when I cut my thigh open and had to have stitches. When they were wheeling me down the hall to have my tonsils removed it was Daddy who was running beside me telling me he loved me and that everything would be ok. He is the one who took me to the only place in Sapulpa where you could get your school supplies and stood in line with me for over an hour to do so. He took me to the Father-Daughter Blue Bird Banquet which was a rare occasion to be with Daddy without Mama and my sister. He was the one to which I directed most of my teen-aged angst and I realize now because I knew he’d never stop loving me. Daddy was the one who called me the day after my son was born (December 6th) to ask if I’d give him the middle name of Pearl since he was almost born on Pearl Harbor Day. Daddy didn’t require a lot. He did have his toys which mostly consisted of a small fishing boat, rods and reels and some lures. Since he had two girls who didn’t enjoy fishing, it was my son who eventually became his fishing buddy. That second picture was taken when he became the President of the local Lion’s Club. He was the one who named me and who was there for every important event in my life. He died in September of 1999 at the age of 72 and with me holding his hand. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. I love you.

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4 Comments »

  1. 1
    Shelly Says:

    Kay, this is a truly touching tribute and brought tears to my eyes. What a blessing he was in your life…and I’m sure many others, too.

    And, WOW….do you ever look like *his* daughter!

  2. 2

    I wished I had a picture of the church sanctuary and how packed it was at his funeral. My boss told me later that the size of the crowd spoke really well of my dad.

  3. 3
    Swampy Says:

    Kay…I have to admit, I don’t have time to read your post today, as I’ve spent 8 minutes at Ree’s blog listening to the radio interview with Hyacinth. I only allow myself 30 minutes of morning blogging and my time is almost up…so, I’ll be back BUT, I just had to come visit you because my suggestion for the name of their show was going to be P Dub and the Flower ! I kid you not ! Great minds think alike. Too funny. Come visit me sometime when you have a chance. We have a Fun Monday thing that’s been going since January and it’s a blast. I’m the hostess with the mostess for this coming Monday. Come on over and check it out.

  4. 4
    Anita Says:

    Kay, what a nice post honoring your father. It gave me goose bumps. I guess all of us of a certain age must have one of those pictures of our father in the military during WWII. My dad also left high school to enlist and served in Europe. He was one of the many who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He died in 1995 at age 72!


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