Today is my Father's 60th Father's Day and it has me thinking about how fathers have changed during my lifetime.
My father took his first job when he was 11 delivering groceries for Mr. Poore. He made 10-cents an hour and all deliveries were made on foot. Did I mention that he walked the three miles to and from work after school everyday? No wonder he was 145-pounds at 6'5". He kept a dollar for himself and the rest he gave to his Mother. He also helped her in the garden, hand dug her well, painted her house, and made all the household repairs until he left for the Army.
His Army service was in Germany after the war as a civil engineer specialist. While there, he met a gypsy who read his palm. He'd marry a red-headed nurse, have four children, and be very successful in life. She was right.
Returning home from Germany, he discovered his mother had given all his clothes to his eldest brother who was in seminary. All his pay had gone to support that brother and his next eldest who was in college. He took his first job as a salesman wearing his Army uniform for the first week until he got paid. And, he abandoned his dream of engineering school as his money was all gone.
The year I was four my Mother had cancer and my brother died. Her bills
alone were over $5000. Daddy only earned $5500. He raised a garden,
cooked for us, cared for us, and buried my brother with money he earned
working and from extra jobs around our community. He took no handouts and
probably no one knew how tough things were.
Now, 60 years later, he still works every day.
He still calls my Mother "Baby" and hands her his wallet when she is leaving home for anything and says, "Do you have any money, baby? Take whatever you need. Is it enough?"
He worries about his children and grandchildren, but won't call. Instead, he has Mother call, who says, "Your Father is worried because you haven't called in two days. Is everything okay? Need anything?"
He flies a flag every day in honor of his grandson and wife. He is proud of their service and tells everyone that his two grandchildren proudly serve in the U.S. Air Force. He had a sign painted that hangs on his barn that declares, "My Grandson and Granddaughter Proudly Serve in the U.S. Air Force" along with an Air Force flag.
He sings in church, serves on committees, and is honored to have been a deacon for 60 years.
He carefully checks the church bulletin for prayer needs and sends cards, money, or visits every one on the list over the course of the week. He always takes fresh eggs or produce to each shut-in he visits because he believes that blessings multiply.
Lest you think he is a saint, he also taught me to swear while plumbing, how to fight injustice or just 'cause I believe I am right, and to tell bawdy jokes whenever I can. He taught me to stand taller than I am to be sure I am never pushed around, stand up for myself, and never, ever, ever, let a man dominate me.
So, to me, this is what a man and father is. He is brave, tender, hard-working, devoted, supportive, generous, considerate, loving, and proud. He stands up and takes responsibility. He has become sadly missing in today's society. Where have all the men gone?