On this Father’s Day, I wanted to take a moment to thank you. I know showing emotions and feelings is new to our relationship and hasn’t been a strong suit but I hope you know how much you have meant to me and influenced me as well as how much I love you.
Until I became a young adult, I wasn’t able to fully understand the scope of your life and the tribulations you had faced but I quickly learned. The many hours you spent working provided for our family and allowed us to have a nice quality upbringing. We always had something to open on our birthday and at Christmas. And no matter how hard the work was, how many hours you spent at the mill, or how terrible the situation was, I never heard you complain nor did you ever once take it out on the family. I always remember you making time to listen to my ridiculous stories and giving me your full attention even after a 14-16 hour shift. No matter how long the shift was, you always found a way to make it to a baseball or basketball game as well as a school graduation or play. You couldn’t stay long and though you had to make it up on the back end – you were always there, somehow, someway.
You always encouraged your children to become educated so that we could obtain good jobs. You promoted getting good grades so that we could win scholarships to attend college. Our mind would always be the key so that we would not need to worry about money and would have time to enjoy our lives.
The greatest memories I hold of you are the times we have spent together. Those times cost no money and are irreplaceable.
- The times we used to go play miniature golf in Savannah when I was little.
- The time we got locked out of the car (no cell phones in those days) and had to call our neighbor to pick us up. I lay on the hood of the car and ate Raisinettes looking at the stars.
- When my beloved dog died when I was a teenager and I went to bury her in the yard. You came with me upon seeing what I was doing and quietly, together, we buried her.
- The many times we went to car shows together and you shared with me not only your love of cars but your knowledge and stories. I never tired of listening to you.
- The time we “stole” my mother’s purse from a family friend’s house and left the house after the alarm went off only to have the cops follow us all the way home.
- The winter we spent trying to get that old Chevrolet car running and the sheer jubilation we felt when we got it to run for about 5 minutes total. Haha!
- When we went to see Eagles play in 2008.
The most important thing you taught me was to be a man. You taught me about integrity and showing respect and compassion for others. You treated people fairly regardless of the color of their skin or who they were. Often, no words were needed as I followed your actions. You showed me that men shake hands, look one another in the eye, and speak clearly and distinctly. You taught me to stand up for what I believe in. Men look out for their family and they work hard. Loyalty was of the utmost importance – to your self, your job, your friends, your country, and most importantly, your family. You worked hard because that’s what your laurels were built upon. A hard day’s work equaled a day’s wage earned. Laziness was not acceptable in any form – either at the house or at work.
I’ve tried to follow your lead. You have probably singularly influenced me more than anyone in my life. You always told me that every parent’s hope was that their children went further in their lives than the parent. That isn’t for me to decide – ultimately, it is for you. I could never repay you for everything you have done for me. But, I hope I make you proud of me – for the man I have become and what I have tried to do with my life.
Happy Father’s Day! I love you!