This is one of our regular Sunday outings. Dad would take my brother and me to an old fashioned soda fountain and then on to the park and let Mom have a few hours to herself.
I was always Daddy's little girl no matter what my age at the time. He reminded me often.
Dad at Biltmore House and Gardens. Mom, Dad and baby Michelle spent the day here while I was working. My father adored being a grandfather and would put Michelle in his lap and read her the morning newspaper. I believe with all my heart he lived as long as he did because he adored being with her so much. She would go in the house and say "get up Opop." In honor of Father's Day and my Dad's birthday in July...
I think of you often with so much love and gratitude. I hope that I told you I love you enough and my actions expressed those feelings. As a parent I appreciate that you were an awesome Dad. You are the inspiration for the better choices that I have made in my life. I wished I had listened to you about computers because you sure nailed that one!!! You were the steadfast, calm and reasonable part of my childhood. A perfect foil to the "craziness" that was Mom. I remember how hard it was for you to punish us. I realize now that it was acutely painful for you, however, whatever form that punishment took, you knew that it must be meted out. I hated disappointing you. I remember thinking Mom's beating with the wooden spoon and yelling was over and done with very quickly. You would talk and talk and talk and look so sad. I learned honesty and responsibility for my actions due to some of your "punishments." Particularly the time I tried to blame Jimmy for something that was my fault. You embraced King Solomon's wisdom in dealing with that situation by allowing the responsible party to step up. I loved you and I adored Jimmy and I could not bear the responsibility of my little brother suffering the punishment you had in mind for both of us until somebody confessed and made it right. I have never forgotten that experience. Thanks for being home every night to sit down with the family to have dinner and talk about the day. We generally tackled you the minute you walked in the door and you wrestled, tickled and tossed us around until dinner was ready never complaining that you were tired. You were there without fail unless the once in awhile that you had bivouac or the tours to Vietnam that took you away. You sacrificed much for your country and family. Many of the anti-war establishment did not realize what you did for your country and the toll it took on your health. We had a few awkward years when I discovered that you were not my biological father. I pulled away a little out of anger and lack of understanding. I know that you and mom thought it was in my best interest. It never occurred to you guys that it would come up when I needed a birth certificate to get my driver's license and I could read German! You told me that I was extra special because you chose me. I thank you for loving me so very much. There were times when I thought Mom was really cold and I think you made up for that. You would be happy to know that she and I have sorted our differences and we actually enjoy one another's company. She did tell me the circumstances of my conception and possible termination and that once she saw me she was glad that she decided to keep me. After all these years, I understood her anger and why I would be a constant reminder of that night when she was powerless. You were the perfect mate for her. You calmed her fears and made her feel secure. You often worked two jobs after you retired from the Army to make sure that all our needs were met. Thank you for always putting us first above anything else. I often look at pictures and get so amused at your outfits! I now know you did that to annoy Mom. She has had a couple of boyfriends but has never re-married, she always says she would never find another man as good as you. I think she regrets not telling you more often. Thank you for helping my husband and I get a good start by loaning him the money to start his own business. He is still very successful at that endeavor. We are not married anymore, I don't know if he remembers everything you did for us, but I do and I will always be grateful for the faith you had in us. I am so sorry you had to suffer so badly with your health. I remember spending many times at the hospital, year after year. I know this truly frustrated you. To be such a visionary and to not have the strength to make those dreams happen. I can't see an episode of M*A*S*H and not think of you and the evenings we spent eating popcorn and watching television together, just you and I. When I am troubled I am sure you hear me because I still talk to you. Christmas eve is still difficult for me even after 25 years. There are things that come up and I tell my friends, "you know sometimes a girl just needs her dad." I can't remember your faults, I know you weren't perfect but you were as close as it gets. I realize not all fathers are like you and I was extremely fortunate that you "picked" me! Thank you so much for everything you meant to me and to the other lives you touched. Happy Father's Day and I Love You, Always!!!
P.S. I also remember all of your really corny jokes and songs!