***Grab a coffee, cup of tea or a diet coke....along with a hankie and plenty of time...this is a tribute to my dad...so I couldn't keep this short!!***
On this day 75 years ago...the first of two wonderful men in my life was born. Yes!!...my dad would have been 75 today!!! I so, could have seen him at 75...full of life, energy, love and laughter...but sadly he was taken from us all too early. A day that I will never forget...the day that when I think about it...causes me much grief and heartache...and will continue to do so...even though I know he is in a much better place... he is with my mom, my brothers and his family...but...some days...it hurts to know he is gone from my daily life...a time when time constraints aren't so menacing...a time for memories to be shared and laughs to be had...jokes to be told...domino games to be played...antique stores to be perused...a time to just be...but of course it can't be like that now...so because of my love for him and to honor him...I try to encourage others to remember the ones you love and let them know every day! Something my dad always remembered to do...and smile of course while he was telling you!! I'm going to share some favorite times, memories and pictures with you...so hope you enjoy...my tribute to my DAD!
Here he is in a picture with my lovely mom on their honeymoon...weren't they just the cutest couple. I used to always kid them about this picture...I kidded dad about his shirt because I NEVER saw my dad wear anything remotely like this while I was growing up...and my mom's skirt...I would tell her...no matter how long it was...she still had trouble with her slip showing! I love this picture of them!
Dad was the most Godly, honest, fun loving, handsome, kind hearted and gentle man I knew. He set the bar pretty high for me as far as men go...but I did find someone who more than measured up to my expectations, one that had the same character and family values as my dad...luckily! Dad ALWAYS had the warmest and most geniune smile...something that I always think of when I envision him today...his generous perfect smile!! In fact when I was a little girl... one that idolized her daddy...I asked him if he had "Chiclets" for teeth. I know I had and still have a goofy imagination...but I can remember a particular picture of him that mom had sitting on her dressing table. In that picture and in life he had the most perfectly straight and white teeth I had ever seen...so of course I thought they looked perfect just like Chiclets gum...thus the comparison!! And there wasn't anything I enjoyed more than some of that Chiclet gum...I was a girl who knew what she liked!! In this picture you will see him on his wedding day...they had just returned from getting married and about to head off to honeymoon for a few days before dad had to report back for duty in the Air Force...he was stationed in Biloxi Mississippi at the time...but came home for a weekend pass to Fort Worth Texas and married my sweet and beautiful mom! Of course mom didn't care for this picture because she said her outfit didn't fit correctly (I think she is beautiful)...that it was way too big...but it was all she could afford and didn't have time to have it altered...I think they look precious...espcecially dad...with his Air Force hat all askew on top of his head...yea...he looks pretty happy!!
A few years later when he and mom had my brother and then me...they moved to a small town south of were they were living so they could bring their children up in a smaller more peaceful and quaint little town...much like the community dad had grown up in! Actually, dad's parents were farmers...he grew up in a rural community with lots of brothers and one sister...so he wanted something similar for us!! Here is a picture of the 4 of us the day they signed the papers for their new lot in suburbia! Look at this cute little All-American family. I love this picture for so many reasons...1) because this was a very important day in all of our lives and they thought to capture it in a picture...this lot was were they built there very first home after renting for a few years while dad was in the air force. It is were my brother, myself and later my sister have many great memories 2) I also love this picture because it represents so much more than just a family standing in the sun posing for the camera...it represents that dreams can come true with hard work and determination, something that both of my parents taught me and my siblings from a very early age. and 3) I know this is weird but it is also a picture of my mother when she was first pregnant with her fourth child...one that she lost shortly after this picture was taken...but it was an important picture for her and later to the rest of us...it was a reminder to each of us that there was more to this picture perfect family than just the eventual 5 we became. She and dad also lost a son 18 months after my oldest brother was born...their second son died shortly after he was born...for my dad it was a life-changing event. He had not been regularly attending mass with my mom; mostly I think, because of the guilt he felt from his mothers disapproval of him becoming Catholic...but when my parents lost their son...William Lee...the priest that was at their church stayed with my dad at the hospital...for 3 days and nights while he waited to see if my mom would survive. Dad watched and suffered with her the loss of a son...then had to wait and watch to see if she would survive because of the toll it had taken on her body. The priest never left my dad's side until mom was in the clear....my dad decided that day...that he had been approaching this all wrong and that if one man could be so dedicated to God, his church and his church's family...that he needed to find out just exactly what he was missing. Now, my dad was raised Christian... he was raised in the Lutheran church and his mom being the strong German Lutheran woman that she was...didn't really approve of the Catholic ways...my dad grew so much from that experience and when I was born and 6 weeks later was baptized....my dad was baptized right along beside me! He never looked back...I learned not to be too judgemental...at least I hope I did!!
This is a picture that I love, too...it is on my wedding day. I laugh because honestly my dad was so much more nervous than I was...in fact I wasn't nervous at all
Dad kept asking me..."are you alright?"..."are you nervous?"..."do you need anything?"...all the while pacing and choking up quietly away from me. I finally told him...all I needed was for him to relax and try not to make me nervous...I told him that he needed to enjoy himself...and get me to the alter on time! After all he was about to be relieved of any finacial burdens a young woman might continue to inflict on a sweet daddy such as himself!! I think he was still very nervous up until the "hand-off"...but all in all it was a great day...because of this man...and the one he so graciously and whole-heartedly gave me to that day in Feb. My dad loved my hubbin...and my hubbin loved my dad!! They used to have so many fun times together...working around the farm, fishing, hunting...playing practical jokes on one another...all the things that men do that should be shared with other men! In fact my dad was such a hard worker and had such stamina that my husband swore dad was trying to kill him... lol...of course we later figured out what he was doing...after all hubbin now has a son-in-law of his own...he gets it....now!!
This has to be my favorite picture...now the quality of this picture and the skills of whoever took it are lacking...but the love, affection and pure joy I can see in it and the tears that flowed during and after it are what makes it the BEST.
It is a picture of my dad...holding his first grandchild AND only grand-daughter for the very first time...the day she came home from the hospital and changed our lives for the better...yes my sweet lovin' little girl!!! This is her "paw-paw"...the man she adored and would follow to the moon if he had asked...the man that thought she "hung" the moon!! They had a special bond those two...and I am so very thankful she had him in her life till she was almost 19...both of my children loved this man! They feel very fortunate to have had him in their lives and enjoyed him as their paw-paw! He was the "bestest" paw-paw ever as one of my nephews used to say!! They remember him so very fondly...and I know that he looks down upon each one of us daily...and smiles! He loved children more than you can imagine...and his grandchildren were the apples of his eye! He was just the most gentle man when it came to his grandbabies...I think there wasn't a child my dad ever met that he didn't end up holding and loving on...perfect strangers would just be in awe of how children were with him and how he was with them!! Yes...he was one in a million!
I could go on for days upon days about this man and what he means to me and all his family...How I learned so many things about life, love and happiness from him...how he taught me to be generous with my time, love for others and my blessings. He taught me to stand firm in what I knew and believed in and not to be swayed by what others thought I should believe...he taught me about hard work and integrity, honesty and trust! He taught me that all living things are God's creations and not to take anything for granted. He taught me how to laugh at myself...to not sweat the small stuff and to always wear clean underwear...oh! no! Wait!!...that was my mom!! Anyhoo...I could go on and on about this glorious man...but I will save some things for another tribute to him...say on fathers day.....in the meantime...know...We miss our dad and paw-paw...we feel fortunate to have been able to have him in each of our lives...and he was one in a million!!! So Happy Birthday to the Greatest Dad...I could have ever dreamed of having!!
***I noticed something funny...as much as dad always smiled...I seemed to have found several pictures where he was doing anything but smiling his great big ole chiclet smile...just know when I find that picture mom had of him on her dressing table...I'm going to post it...so you all know what I mean***