As I get older, I really try to pay attention to the important things within that make me who I am. I find myself analyzing the why’s of my actions and reactions. I do not always have a legitimate answer that I am willing to share with the outside world, or even those close to me for that matter, but I know. That is the most important factor of it all; I know.
Life has not always been easy. I am no different than anyone else in that respect. We all have issues and burdens mingled throughout the joys that pave the way to the person we end up being in the end. Not the silhouette; the carved out unshakeable mortal God formed.
I was blessed with a loving, supportive family to guide and care for me. We were not without faults and, like all families, had internal matters we dealt with as a unit. Although I had a solid relationship with my mother and brother, I was always “daddy’s little girl”. This must have started the first day I met him, on my birth day, and a vine of love and devotion was planted that would wind its way throughout my life. It took root deep within my heart.
I do not think the dictionary has a complete offering of adjectives that could paint a portrait of my daddy. It is natural to state such observations about a loved one, but daddy was above and beyond most, not only to me, but to many. He was a respected and admired man that worked hard, loved God and family, and valued what made a life. I am not referring to material items, but those things of substance that money cannot buy. He was adamant about setting a good example for his children and being available to listen to our needs and concerns. He was truly my best friend and exemplified such a model for all that had the pleasure of his acquaintance.
I feel very fortunate to have had the privilege of such a man in my life. As mentioned before, life has not always been easy, but I could always depend on my daddy to offer guidance, love, and support regardless what circumstances arose. The circle of life cannot be controlled by human beings and sometimes things happen that have devastating effects on us as individuals. Such occurrences transpired for me during my childhood that set the stage for the paths I would follow as an adult. Daddy stayed solid, although his heart was broken, and continued to be a pillar for me through the loss of my brother. My respect and admiration for him only deepened each day.
Daddy grew up in the Depression Era. He knew what it was to have little and appreciate what you did have. His mother loved the farm life and her animals, especially her horse named Fanny. She sold eggs and milk and traded vegetables, chickens, and cows, until she was able to obtain a buggy her horse could pull. He would often recall how she would heat coals and wrap them in a container and place in the bottom of the buggy to keep her children’s feet warm in the winter. Another recollection was the school lunch she would pack for him and his sister. He would routinely find biscuits and sausage wrapped carefully awaiting the opportunity to fill his belly. This was food easily accessible since they lived on a farm and raised their own meat. But he was ashamed of the menu because it depicted being poor so he would hide behind a tree to obscure his presence and consume his meal each day
As a young man, he went off to war and served in the United States Army. His tour led him to the European Theater during World War II. He served as a Staff Sergeant and earned a Purple Heart for wounds received in action and 2 Bronze Stars; one for meritorious service in ground combat against the armed enemy in the European – African – Middle Eastern Theater of Operations and one for heroic achievement in connection with military operations in Germany. When faced with withering mortar and small arms fire, he voluntarily exposed himself with utter disregard for his personal safety to the concentrated fire of enemy snipers to bring vitally required ammunition to the men of his platoon which was facing an enemy counter attack. Daddy did not speak often of his war experiences, but the stories he did share with me were much entailed and I understand why he chose to refrain from revisiting those memories.
As an elderly man, he would recall his youth and a common story was his remembrance of coming home on one particular furlough from the war. He arrived in his hometown late at night. He walked from the bus station to his parent’s home, about ½ mile away, and stood outside the bedroom window and talked to his mother. He then went on to visit some buddies late into the night. He would talk about how his mother cried with joy that he was home, if only temporarily, and he was safe. He would reflect affectionately and say he wished he would have understood, at the time, the entire picture of his mother’s nurturing and love and would become tearful.
Daddy only had a 10th grade education, but that was never a deterrent to his success. He lived simply, but had all he needed or desired. He worked hard and climbed his way up the ladder of achievements. Being a child during the Depression Era, he knew how to not be wasteful and save for the future. He wanted to leave the next generation better than his and he did.
He had losses in life that were very difficult. He buried a father, mother, sister; a wife of 48 years; a daughter that lived only an hour; a child that was never known as it perished due to an ectopic pregnancy; and a son that was 31 years old. He never wavered from his faith in God and never wavered as a father to me. He was stellar on the battlefield and just as much so as a father.
For 16 years, there was only daddy and I. Momma and my brother had passed. I had my own family, but daddy continued to be what grounded me. As an adult, I developed into a very private person, choosing to deal on my own, as best I could, whatever life threw at me. But I was never alone. I always had God and I always had daddy in my corner. He gave me comfort just spending time with him and although many times remained unspoken, he knew when I needed that extra hug, that extra pat on the back, that extra squeeze of the hand.
Today, daddy would have been 92 years old. It has been close to 6 years since I have heard his voice or held his hand. Tomorrow, I will be another year older. Although I am blessed to know he is reaping Heaven’s reward, my heart still hurts. God understands that. Each birthday I have now, I think about how he must have felt when we first met; when that vine of love and devotion was so freely planted and cultivated over the years. He occupied a place in my life that no one else will ever be able to fill, nor should they. I was changed forever with his passing and as long as I have breath in my body, there will be a void. But through it all, he gave me the tools to carry on and the pride to try my best, to be as good a person as I can, to continue what he established. Regardless how far in age I am blessed to travel in this life, I will always be my “daddy’s little girl”. That will remain deep within my heart.
In Honor & Memory; Always loved, Always missed, Forever in my heart, until we meet again………..
I’ll see you on the flip side……….