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To my Daddy

Dad and I – summer of 1976 – I was 15 and he was 47

My dad was my hero, the first man I looked up to. He never saw my faults, always believed in me.

I remember curling up with him, when I was very little, to watch reruns of Mr. Ed because he knew I loved horses and what was better than a talking horse, of course!

I remember holding his hand when I was a little girl. I always felt safe.

I remember riding in the front seat of our car, between my dad and my mom. It made me feel cozy.

I remember pretending I was asleep, when I was too old to be (probably up until I was eight!), so that he would carry me to my bed at night. And he did.

I remember how he loved to talk. To anyone. It didn’t matter if he knew them or not.

I remember that, everywhere we went, he knew someone. We could travel across the country and he would come across someone he knew.

I remember that he loved to eat. It was almost like a hobby for him. The last year of his life he couldn’t eat everything he wanted because of a heart problem. He died anyways without having been able to enjoy all of his favorite foods one last time.

I remember the summer we (my dad, mom and I) rented a motor home and travelled out west with my aunt, uncle and their four kids. My dad did all the driving. When he drove that monster up to Mt. Rushmore, everyone was in the back of the motor home, scared and not wanting to look out the window, except for me. I trusted him completely.

I remember when my dad would ask me to help him take a load to the junkyard. It was his hobby, separating out junk to collect the money-making stuff and hauling it to Detroit to the junkyard. I never had to do anything, but he would take me to lunch and give me half the money he made. He just wanted someone to talk to on the long drive.
I remember how much my dad loved his family. He would (and did) drop everything if we needed him. He whould do anything for any of us. It didn’t matter what we had done. It didn’t matter if we didn’t deserve his help or forgiveness. He gave it. No questions.

I remember and cherish the connection that I had with him when we moved to the country. We both loved it. He taught me so much about taking care of my horses. He sacrificed greatly to make sure I had what I needed and was able to take lessons and go to horseshows.

I remember that he couldn’t hurt a flea, unless it was a threat to family. One of our chickens seemed to have broken its neck, but was still alive. He could not put it out of its misery. We had to have a friend do it.
Another time, a weasel (very mean) was living in our backyard, in an area where his grandchildren played. He killed it. My mom later said that he felt terrible about it always after.

I remember how much he loved being Popop to his seven grandchildren. And, oh, how they loved him back!
Popop and Jamie
I remember that my dad was a great man. He worked hard and he was kind and he went out of his way to help anyone. He was unconditionally devoted to his family. He never, ever asked for anything in return.
I remember the last “conversation” I had with my dad. He had a stroke and was unconcious, could not speak. For the first couple of days, he would respond to us when we talked to him, usually by squeezing our hand. We knew he could hear us. I finally had a few minutes alone with him and I told him how much I wanted him to get better, there was so much to look forward to and I told him how sorry I was for all the things I had done to hurt him. He gave my hand a long, gentle squeeze. I like to think that he was telling me that he loved me and forgave me…and goodbye. After that, he quit responding and a couple of days later, on the morning of Dec. 23rd in 1992, he left us…
We were consoled with the image of all of the family and friends that he would meet up with in heaven and he would so enjoy telling them all that had gone on since they left us, because he loved to talk.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!

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