My father was somewhat of a wild child in his youth. No one thought he would grow up to be the serious, successful man he became. He had a wonderful sense of humor and didn’t always obey the rules.
He and my mother grew up together in the same small town, so they always knew each other. I think they fell in love at a young age. Maybe it was because my father was so much fun to be around. I know he adored my mother until his dying day.
While trying to enlist in the service during WWII, he discovered he was color blind. Consequently, he joined the CB’s (Construction Battalion) and spent the war building bridges and other structures for the Navy.
He learned a lot about construction during his tour, which served him well the rest of his life. Psychologically he never adjusted to military life. That old thing about not obeying rules, especially if they didn’t make sense, really got in his way. He always had a bit of a rebel in him.
After the war he married, went to college and had three children. Those were lean years, but fun according to him. He always had a funny story to tell about any period of his life.
And living in a mobile home with a family while working and going to school on the GI Bill must have been hysterically funny, because his memories of that time were amazing. I think my mother remembered having three babies in three years in a small mobile home a little differently!
Daddy was always the epitome of what a father should be. He was smart. He was witty. He was honest. He was fair to a fault. He loved me completely. He could fix anything. He was a gentleman.
He made mundane things fun. His sense humor was legendary. He could make the grumpiest people laugh. It was magical to watch him.
And he had a way with kids. Strange children would just slowly come up to him and climb onto his lap. No words were said. The children would just snuggle into my dad’s embrace as if they knew him their whole life. Even he was mystified as to why it happened.
I have such wonderful memories of my father helping me with school work, questioning young boyfriends, driving us all on vacations, trying to punish the three of us children while hiding his smile, teaching our dog tricks, making Halloween costumes and teaching me to drive.
My dad taught me many things but mostly how to treat other people well. Respect your elders. Help the needy. Say please and thank you. Treat everyone with kindness. He seldom got angry and was more often forgiving.
I did see him get really frustrated with the recurring plumbing problems in one house we rented and he threw a mop down the stairs. That was as angry as I ever saw him and really pretty funny now as I remember it.
He wasn’t a perfect man but he was so perfect for me. He died with dignity and grace after a long full life. He left behind a wonderful legacy, to the following generations, of a great human being.
He was my Daddy my whole life.