Salute to my Father….on Daddy’s Day
June 17, 2011

This was on my sister's wedding day...so 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!

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Overpacking..and other wasteful sins….
March 4, 2010

I've just begun...see how tight those suckers are wrapped?

When my late Father said he was sending package my way years ago, I knew I was in for a wrestling session. We had a saying at my house, ……when Bobby wraps a package, it stays wrapped. He used so much tape, the wrapping was barely visible, and one didn’t dare approach it without multiple, razor-sharp implements of destruction. He didn’t make it easy, but there was NO WAY something he sent, fell apart in transit.   No sir-ee.

Such as innocent looking box......

I was reminded of my Father’s endless devotion to over-packing, when I tried to recycle a box, in which a table for daughter’s apartment had arrived. Sounds simple enough, oui? But here’s the rub, gentle reader…or the wrap, I should say. Inside the box were at least 50 strips of cardboard, rolled and then individually wrapped in plastic strips….around and around and around and up and down, in something like Saran Wrap(or cling film as they call it in the U.K.). So to recycle all the cardboard strips under the plastic,(and people who know me, know I’m gonna recycle those suckers…I’ve almost had battles in the newsroom over this)….you had to individually UNWRAP all those little rolls. And they didn’t unwrap easy….there’s another Bobby out there. Sigh.

We love the table, truly…it came from ETSY…the website for people who are selling handmade things they individually make. But I would say this to the owner of Applewood  products……”Dear Mr. Applewood and Decor in Utah: I really love your little table, even though you sent a white one when we wanted a black on…(no problem, we’ll paint it)….but it must be said tha your packing is lamentable. Not that it was shoddily packed, oh no.  Perhaps a greater sin….over-packing. Only a maniac recycler like myself would have unwrapped each and every one of those little  #*&^#*# tubes….I had devote a full two weeks at it …off and on of course…but I did it. However,  in the feeling that we perhaps both desire the same thing….getting something safely to its destination without driving the person who receives said package insane….and in the interest of saving someone on your end much time(how long did it take to wrap those little suckers anyway?), and money(that giant wad of plastic has to be expensive…shall I mail it back to you?)….let’s just agree that there must be a better way. A way that is kinder to your wallet, kinder to me, kinder to the earth(Oh, Momma can you hear me?)…and just, well…better. Biodegradable peanuts? Cardboard rolled but not wrapped? Air bubbles? Yours for a better world, Donna Hamilton.

I'm closing in on the finish...Baby Girl doesn't like the looks of it....

Anyway to make a long story short(I know, too late for that)…I did get them all undone and drug the bunch out to recycling this week. I felt much better not looking at it in my living room, and even better still that MOST of it was recycled…I still have your giant wad of plastic wrap to put in the trash tomorrow. That makes me feel bad, and I don’t like people who make me feel bad. Can’t we find another way? Pretty please?