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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Remembering Dad

My Dad fixed radios and cars, mowed over Mom's flowers in the yard,

 Worked long hours every day, didn't have a lot to say,

 He was there and he was calm, in times of stress he was a balm,

 We miss him so every day and honor him on Father's Day


Dad was the one who mowed the lawn once the old push mower was replaced with a motorized version.  I only ever remember my mother using the old non-motorized one, and only remember Dad with either the gas or electric powered models.  My mother loved to plant flowers around the yard, and worked hard to keep the weeds at bay, (unlike me who grows a bumper crop of weeds along with flowers every summer).  There was one particular spot on the side of the house by the kitchen window where she always wanted a pussy willow.  I’m not sure how many times one was planted there, and was just starting to take root and grow when we’d hear “crunch!”, followed by the lawn mower’s sudden silence and some curse words.  Dad ran over the pussy willow—again.  I’m not sure why he kept forgetting it was there, I suppose he was just wrapped up in whatever thoughts he had while cutting the grass.  We were probably lucky he didn’t run over one of us four kids—surely there was some temptation there at some point!  It sort of became a family joke; after all, he also ran over the little pine trees we planted after bringing them home from school on Arbor Day—one of them actually survived and grew taller than the house.  I’m not sure if it’s still there as I haven’t driven past the old place in a couple years.

Dad was an avid chess player and reader of paperback books.  He spent a lot of time reading mysteries by Agatha Christie and westerns by Louis Lamoure.  He’d play a game of chess against anyone willing to play, and although he passed away when my oldest daughter was rather young, he taught her at the age of 5 to play chess.  I never had an interest in chess, I preferred (and still do) playing games that involve words.  Cribbage was another game he enjoyed and I have to say I did try to learn it a number of times but strategy and math are not my thing.

He was a quiet presence, and I recall as a small child running around excitedly when he came home from work.   After dinner he’d read me a fairy tale, my favorite being “The Brementown Musicians”, and play “Patty Cake” or “Slap Hands”, which was an invented game where he’d put his hands out palms up and I had to try to pull my hands away before he clapped his together.  Silly, but it kept me entertained and probably improved my reflexes!

I’m so glad I have such happy, vivid memories of my father.  He was part of “the greatest generation” as Tom Brokaw put it, and I think he was right.


Kathi said...

Such nice memories Sue. Funny about the mowing!! What a wonderful daddy!

Rick Watson said...

Neat memories. My dad had six people that carpooled with him so he bought an old Pontiac station wagon.
There was something about the hubcaps that made the car whistle.
You could tell from inside our house when he got close to home by the whistle. I hadn't thought of that memory until this moment.