My dad was not always the "perfect" Dad. but he was mine. And I never questioned whether or not I was loved. If I needed anything, all I had to do was ask. He wasn't at every school program or ball game. He wasn't one of those Dads. I never even thought about it then. He was just my Dad and that is how he was.
A carpenter his whole life, you only had to tell him what you wanted, and he could build it. The smell of sawdust and sweat is the most perfect smell in the world. His striped overhauls and pencil behind his ear, this is how I remember him as a child. Before measuring tapes came around, the wooden folded measuring tape was one of my favorite toys...Of course, I got in trouble for playing with that toy.
One of my fondest memories of Dad was our fishing time. It began when we were little and he would take us fishing while visiting my Grandma. I was married and started having children when they bought the place on Eufaula Lake. While we were there, Dad got up very early and I would get up with him. If I wanted to have any quite fishing time, I had to do it before my kids woke up. Drinking coffee on the porch listening to the birds wake up was one of my favorite parts of the day. Dad would tell me the names of each one of the birds as they began their morning songs. We spent many mornings sitting on the rocks with our poles in the water waiting on the fish to bite. If we were "Jug Fishing" He would take me with him out in the boat to pick up and bait the jugs back out. Our mornings would usually prove productive and we would bring home several good sized catfish. Dad and I didn't talk much, but we enjoyed spending this quite time together.
Growing up, Dad was a grouchy man. About the time I started having my children, he began to mellow. I am not sure, but I think Grandchildren have a way of changing Grouchy Men. I sort of witnessed this strange phenomenon again when my husband and I had our first granddaughter. Ha. But that is another story. This thing that happens when men become Grandpas showed a side of my Dad I didn't know existed. All of the things he wasn't when I was a child, he gave to my children. And when you thought you had seen everything, His grandchildren made him a Great Grandpa. It got even more unbelievable. During this period of our lives, he became ill. Between Grandchildren and fighting for his life, he became the most loving man I know. I always felt loved, but the gentle way he was after the grand kids, I never experienced as a child.
He had been a drinking man, and right before he got sick, he gave up that part of his life. My daughter was sort of angry by this. She felt he had wasted so many years and then he got sick. I am sure he regretted all those years, but life is what it is. Life is filled with regrets and should haves and could haves.We begin to mold into a person the moment of birth. Choices, life lessons, consequences, people, mistakes, victories, failures all come together to make the person we become. And we never cease to evolve until we die.
Dad loved us each with his whole heart. He made choices he was proud of and choices he was ashamed of. But the man he was, I was proud to call my Dad. His life taught us to be proud, to have faith, to love, and what it means to be a good person. Thank you, Daddy, for all you taught us. I miss you and think of you every day. Happy Father's Day.