He was a pretty quiet man, not by any standards loquacious….he never hit me or my three sisters(that I remember), he never raised his voice(though his looks could mean business), and he loved a good joke.
He was one of three boys… never went to college….finished high school in Birmingham Alabama, and after coming home from WWII, went to work in his own back yard. I mean that literally, American Cast Iron Pipe Company was a block down the street from where he grew up…a street that was gritty from the cinders that flew from the furnace that melted and molded cast iron pipe. He worked there until he retired…..over 50 years at one company….can you imagine?
In World War II, he, like so many others, enlisted after D-Day….he and my Mom married quickly…(hey, it was war-time and why not get a little lovin’ in before who knows what happens!). He traveled all around the world as an M.P. My Mother told us a story when we were adults(my Father would never mention such a thing) about when my Dad was stationed in India….he passed by an alley in Bombay, in which a soldier had his fly open and a little Indian boy was……to use the proper term… fellating the soldier. The boy had tears running down his cheeks. Some MPs might have looked the other way…hey, a war is on and this is trouble I don’t need…but not my Dad. He arrested the guy and threw him in the brig, pronto. Good on you, man.
Some of you may remember this wonderful picture of my parents, and the story of my Dad and how he obtained his beloved Ray-Ban aviator glasses from this prior post….the pic was taken on the shores of Lake Ponchatrain in Louisiana where he was stationed…and my Mom followed and worked at the airfield. I love that story.
And perhaps because he was such a straight arrow(?), he was one of the men who guarded the famous, or infamous Enola Gay airplane…which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. He and his squadron were flown to the tiny island of Tianan in the Pacific, from which practice and the real runs were staged. My Dad had no idea what they were guarding, or what was so special about the plane at the end of the runway, all by itself…they only knew NO ONE was to get close to it. I never knew how he felt about being indirectly related to an event that killed so many people. I wish I had asked, but there it is. I didn’t. And he wasn’t one to speak of such things.
He came home…still a simple guy who went to work every day, raised his kids, put all three of us through college, never left us and was a good husband…did pretty much everything my Mom told him to ….and he loved fishing and swimming in his beloved Smith Lake. He died of Parkinson’s Disease, certainly not the way any of us would have chosen for him, nor he for himself… but he was pretty stoic about the whole thing. I only remember him saying once, “I can’t even wipe my own butt“.
Here’s to you my Father…lots of men could learn a thing a two about service, about loyalty, about kindness, and about being a dad, and a man. He got it right, all the way to the end.
Hope all of you celebrate your dads this weekend….especially those who deserve it. Call him…take him out to lunch…let him know you love him while he’s still around. Make it a great day and come home safe…’cause we miss you! ♥