A bit late in the evening but I wanted to post a bit about Father’s Day. There have been several influential men – father figures – in my life. None more so than my Dad. He has led a pretty great life and has seen the world and technology change. Dad was the youngest of seven and grew up in Coshocton, Ohio. Soon after he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the Armed Forces and was in the Army Air Corps (later the Air Force) until 1960. He worked Civil Service on the Air Force Base for many years after. He’s lived in Iceland when he was in training, Ohio, Florida, Montana, Wisconsin, and Japan for a total of six years while he was in the service. Dad is primarily a nomad and likes to move every few years – similar to how the service does it’s placement and transfers. He’s traveled all over the United States for recreation. Similar to his brothers and uncles and father, he likes to work with his hands and has built furniture and done minor house maintenance.
As a young girl, my Dad was very patient with me when I wanted to play. He’d let me play house while he just went along. He’d sit with me for tea parties. I’d sit and tell him made up stories and when I was a pre-teen, he listened to me sing (that should earn him a spot in heaven!) for hours on end! My Dad and I had a very tenuous relationship for many years and didn’t speak for quite a while due to some personal issues. I realized one day close to Easter in the late 80s that someday my Dad would be gone and then how would I feel if the silence continued. I reached out to him in a letter and soon got a reply. Then I picked up the phone. It was almost as if those lost years were swept away as we picked up our father-daughter relationship. He’s been there when I’ve needed him and he’s turned to my husband and I when he’s needed to. I called him early this morning to wish him a Happy Father’s day because he’s still going strong and I knew he’d probably be hard to reach any other time.
My grandfather also played a big part in my life. For most of my formative years, I always thought he was so tall and formidable. He had a booming voice that commanded – but of course – he’d retired as a Colonel from the Air Force. When Grandad talked, people listened. He was respected where ever he went and by whomever he met. Yet, then I didn’t realize half of what he’d lived through in his life. I remember the look on his face the night my grandmother passed away in 1984. It was as if somoene had torn out his heart. He was very lost. She’d been by his side since Easter of 1916 – the day they met. It was only a few years ago when I found their love letters and letters they wrote after they were married, that I learned of the depth of my grandfather’s gentleness, playfulness, and immense love that he had not only for his “Dearest” wife but for his entire family.
During the years my dad and I were estranged, my brother – 21 years older than me – was also a father figure. He’d spend time to talk with me about how my choices would affect my life. And when he was disappointed in me, I felt just awful. Rarely did I ever hear my brother raise his voice. He never had to. He had a way of looking at me with his blue eyes that made me very aware of his disapproval. Yet my brother was full of fun and always found time for a little sister. One summer he and his wife took me along with them on a short trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park. Even though we were sleeping – along with their infant son – in a pickup truck camper, I thought it was a wonderful trip. Unfortunately, my brother’s not around anymore for me to let him know how much I appreciated his influence on my life.
I miss my Grandad and brother – because they are no longer around. I miss my Dad because we’re separated by distance and not able to see each other very much – although I can hear his voice whenever I want. Happy Father’s Day!