Salute to my Father….on Daddy’s Day

This was on my sister's wedding proud!

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.

That's him on the right...I looked just like him as a toddler...

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.

A man and his Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses....

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.

My Daddy guarded this plane....

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!

9 Responses

  1. Donna–What a wonderful tribute to your father. I miss my father everyday bu hace wonderful memories.

  2. Nice tribute, Donna. One correction: The Enola Gay did not drop the bomb on Nagasaki. That B-29 that dropped that bomb was called Bock’s Car.

  3. And you are right sir!! My bad….I wonder why it is the Enola Gay is famous and Bock’s Car is not really known?? Anyone know the answer?

  4. I remember your parents as a handsome couple. I should have know your mom was an absolute looker when she was young, too.

  5. oh my sweet sister—i have tears running down my face—our dad was such a fine man–and you did such a great job sharing him with all your readers—thank you –i miss him too!

  6. Having grown up with you, your sisters and your sweet Mom and Dad, I still remember your Dad too! My folks and your folks played cards and many a night I would end up playing outside – catching lightening bugs or hide and seek with you girls and your cousins – Jimmy and Charlotte … I’m finding it amazing I even remember it! 🙂

    Your Dad to me was Mr. Bobby – always consistent, always – always kind and I never heard anything but good from my Mom and Dad as they enjoyed their friendship. I have kept up with “Bobby and Mary Grace – the organist at our church” throughout the years and was saddened as was my Mom when your Dad passed away. She kept me apprised of his failing health.

    But look what he has left behind … 3 beautiful ladies with families and they have made their mark in this world because of great parents that led them in positive directions. I’ve seen Audrey a time or two at the Methodist church in Gardendale, kept up with your media career thanks to my Mom letting me know and Jan? – I have no idea where in the heck is she! But I know he was and would be proud of you all.

    So grateful I have crossed your paths; so grateful you ladies were a part of my childhood and so grateful to have been a part of something special in our hometown. Some things you just can’t replace!

    Blessings Donna! Proud of all you are doing!

  7. Donna, “another Donna”, from Mobile, Al. We are friends with Audrey & George and when they would come in summers for a visit, it was always with a basket of tomatoes from your dad’s garden. I must admit, when I knew they were coming, I would hope they remembered to bring tomatoes again. Ohhh, they were so good!! The tribute is touching. I remember your dad. I read your blog months ago about the costume jewelry; have you checked to see if the clip is a “fur clip”. I inherited alot from my husband’s aunt & found a fur clip. I have a wonderful friend who restores costume jewelry & has been a big help as I wade thru Aunt Dorothy’s treasures.

  8. I know marshall…we were looking at that picture of them on Lake Ponchatrain…and said “they look so glamorous!”…they had a very happy life together…

  9. I know Donna….his tomatoes and the rest of his veggies spoiled me forever for things from the supermarket…his tomatoes were legendary.

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