Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Father...

I wasn't going to write anything about dad for Father's Day. He died in 1996 at the age of 92. The photo of my dad and his family was taken in the late Twenties. He's the second from the right on the back row. Dad was born in 1903. He had two brothers and five sisters. Mom always said that his mom and sisters spoiled him before she ever got hold of him.

We always told mom that she had a whole bunch of stars in her crown for putting up with him. Dad was ornery as dirt, loved cornball jokes and puns. He was a church-going man and would, upon occasion when we were back in Tennessee for family reunions, give a Sunday sermon at a little old backwoods church. He taught Sunday school for many years and was a member of Methodist Men's Club for longer than I can remember.

Dad and two partners were Phillips 66 jobbers since the mid-Thirties. Dad and mom got married in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1930. He and mom then made their home in Okla. City, Oklahoma,and started their family with the birth of my oldest brother in 1931. He went to college at John Brown College in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and that was where he and mom met. He was four years and a couple of months older than mom and he was so full of mischief, always cutting up and teasing whenever he was out of class. He worked at the dairy at the school to help pay for his education in accounting.

Dad was also a stubborn, quick-tempered butthead. He and I clashed more than once from my teen years on. This man that would read the Sunday funny papers to us kids to try to keep us clean until mom got dressed and we headed for church would tan our heinies if we stepped out of line on one of his bad days. I have the patience of Job compared to my dad. Mom said we locked horns because we were so much alike. Man, I hated that! But I will confess to fighting a hair trigger temper all my life. I don't ever want to hurt somebody with an angry torrent of words.
That hurt more and stayed with me longer than any whipping I ever had, and I had more than one and all were well earned.

My dad loved taking us kids to the wrestlin' matches at the Stockyards Colisuem in south west Okla. City. He enjoyed taking us and grandkids to the Okla. City Zoo. Dad was not athletic, but he and mom both encouraged me and my younger brother in whatever sports we chose to persue. He never griped at us for digging a hole in the yard to make a kicking tee for a football and he would play catch with us some when we were little and it just fascinated us that he could throw right and left handed.

The only two times I ever heard my daddy swear was once at me and the other time was because of me. It was hard for me to go to sleep and consequently it was difficult for me to get up. Both times had to do with me not getting up and ready to go to school on time.

All this has been an exercise for me to try to put down mostly the good things that I remember about my dad instead of goin' on about the things that still make me angry. In a lot of ways he was a good example for us kids and others growing up. He loved my mom and was faithful to her for 62 and a half years before she died. He loved all us kids and very much enjoyed having a large family. He and mom mourned my oldest sister's death for 40+ years after she died when she was 23 years old from a brain hemorrage. He was totally fair with us kids when time came to divide up our inheritance, including an equal portion for my oldest sister's 3 children she and her husband had before she died.

So here's to you, dad. It was the best I could come up with this year. Maybe next year I'll have buried a little more of the anger because I really don't want to carry it around anymore. I'll just leave this with a little poem that daddy taught me when I was small...

Roses on my shoulders,
Slippers on my feet.
I'm my daddy's darlin',
Don't you think I'm sweet.

After which mom noted in my baby book I'd always say, "Uh Huh!"


Sara said...

I do believe that the good memories of our parents and the bad memories of our parents all fight for balance most of our lives.

Glad you are back online!

farmlady said...

Well Helen, we just don't know what we're going to get with parents. It sounds like we both had Dads that were really good men with rather awful habits. I believe, like you do, that we need to let go of the anger that we had and try to remember the good things.
Raising children is the hardest thing I ever did so I have to give my Dad credit for always having a good job, giving us a good home and trying to be happy even thought he was dealing with his own demons. What I perceived as meanness (especially in my teens) was really his fear and unhappiness. Now I understand. Now it's too late. His fear turned to anger and we lost him.

"What a tangled web we weave."

Pastor Sharon said...

Helen, I admire what you have done with these good memories of your father.
Today, I gave a Father's Day sermon intitled, Honoring our Fathers, including our Heavenly Father. I had a hard time with that one because I had to be careful not to let the "dad junk" interfere with that sermon.
Thank you for your courage to find the good!

Pastor Sharon said...

By the way, Helen, I have left something for you at my place, if you choose to accept the challenge.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

you know my dad is livig but sometimes it is hard to forget the bad stuff... it never fails to amaze me that the man who beat me mercilessly is not a counselor and teaches hownot to abuse.... i asked him on fathers day id=f he had taken some anger management classes... he said no but i am sure he knew what i was talking about... i love him i forgive him but i still have not forgotten.

Karen (KayKay) said...

So glad that you are back online. I think you did a great job of writing about your dad without sounding too angry. I can almost "see" him. I know a lot of men like him. It's hard to deal with the parent most like you - often hard for a parent to deal with the child most like them, too.

Lonicera said...

Helen, I think your post has probably set lots of people thinking - it's certainly made me remember my Dad today, (1920-2004)and what I would write about him in a blog.
...That he was very good looking (in his prime), gentle, non-confrontational to a fault, kind, indulgent, non-existent on the discipline, and also a bit weak and indecisive. His response to my mother's bullying was to withdraw into his own world so that she couldn't reach him, rather than stand up to her (as we did), which would have earned her respect. Very occasionally he did, and was always amazed at her reaction.
He had Parkinsons in his latter years, and patently couldn't wait to escape her by dying.
However he made things very difficult for her too, as his full-time carer, for his resentment made him selfish, bad-tempered, impatient and stubborn - with her. It was my sister and me who were always caught in the middle, which was very distressing.
But that he was a good man I have no doubt, and he was a wonderful and supportive father to my sister and me. I miss him so.

Twisted Fencepost said...

It is sad that we have to remember the bad with the good. Not one of us are perfect. And I try to always remember that along with my memories. Things are what they are and we can't change the past.
I try to remember the good and bury the past. And it is not always easy.

DocSly said...

Helen, writing about things is a great way to let go. It is apparent from your words that you love your dad but recognize we are all human and although we try to do our best, we have that side of us that people will remember and not necessarily love the most. How are the ribs?

Anonymous said...

Those daddy's. They aren't perfect, but they're ours, right? I enjoyed reading your story. It's so nice to read the memories of someone who is actually about my age! :)

Anonymous said...


Do you guys watch movies in theater or on internet? I use to rent DVD movies from [b][/b]. Recently I discovered that we can watch all new movies on internet on day, they are released. So why should I spend money on renting movies??? So, can you guys please tell me where I can [url=]watch latest movie Eli 2010[/url] for free?? I have searched [url=][/url], [url=][/url], [url=][/url] but, Could not find a good working link. If you know any working link please share it with me.