My dad passed away 40 years ago at a very crucial age for any child. I was fourteen and a half years old when he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. I watched him rally back for a while and then quickly go downhill. Our family held strong through the next six months and then the cancer took him away.
I had such a short time with him in my life. I remember that he always called me "cotton top" and "pumpkin". Words of love and affection for his little girl. He was a hard worker and a good family man.
I remember him being gone a lot when I was younger. He was a truck driver and would be gone for long periods of time on the road. But when he would come home he was home to stay....Until the next gig would come about. And then off he would go. During one of the times he was home I remember that I had come home from school upset that some bully at school had been making fun of me and calling me names. My dad said, "the next time he calls you a name, just take your fist and hit him right in the gut and when he bends over, hit him right over the head". Of course that didn't happen and that advise today would land you in my office for disciplinary measures.
Another time that stands out in my mind was when I was in elementary school and I came home from school and told my daddy that my tooth was loose. He always wanted to see how loose it was. And a couple of times he just yanked those loose teeth right out! Before I could bat an eye. He was quick.
One Christmas Eve he came home from work and had in his big coat pocket a very itsy bitsy puppy. It was so small. About the size of the palm of his hand. It was so adorable and we all fell in love. Especially my mom. She hadn't wanted anymore dogs when our other one had died but she sure became quickly attached to our little "Blackie". That was her name. She was a toy terrier and even as small as she would remain, she was still too big. She was over-fed and loved to pieces.
In my short life with my dad I remember such great things about him. He was kind and above all, a very loving family man. He loved his wife, my brother and his little girl. After all, he had been the one to name me. Both he and my sister. You see, we had and still do have a blended family. My other brothers and sisters were from a prior marriage my mom had. She was mom to all of us. My dad was their stepdad. They are my half-siblings but that was never stated in our house. My dad loved them as if they had been his very own.
I was blessed to have this wonderful man in my life. He has been gone for many years. But he remains so vividly clear in my mind as a respectful, loving human being who I feel was a model for me in helping me to choose my soulmate in later years.
So dad, on this Father's Day and all the rest to come, I hold you in high regard for the loving man and father that you were. And know that you are in my heart forever!