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JoNightshade
06-15-2008, 09:05 AM
There's already a Father's Day thread for AW dads, but I thought I'd start a separate thread for paying tribute to all of the dads that have influenced our lives. Some are still with us and some are not; some are our biological dads and some chose that responsibility for themselves. All of them had a huge impact on our lives.

Whoever your dad was, tell us about him here.

Lyra Jean
06-15-2008, 09:51 AM
My dad is an awesome cook.

When my parents got divorced, I was 4 or 5 he raised my brother and I all by himself. He didn't get remarried the first time until I was in high school. The second time he got remarried I was in college. I'm so glad that he found someone to be happy with.

Mumut
06-15-2008, 11:01 AM
My father was a great storyteller and this made me realise the power of telling stories. My mother's first husband died in the war but dad was equally father to my brother, sister and me (not 'I') and we didn't know he was not their father until out teens.

Susie
06-15-2008, 03:38 PM
My Dad was super and would always go out of his way for us. He worked hard, six days a week in a clothing store to support my mom, sister and I. He never complained and was always loving and kind. Happy Father's Day, Dad and to all the wonderful fathers out there. Super thread, Jo.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
06-15-2008, 03:53 PM
I wrote this tribute to my dad several years ago - it's on my genealogy website:

"Born in Indian Territory in 1904, the 9th of 10 children, Sid Robbins grew up both motherless and fatherless after the deaths of his mother from gangrene and his father from typhoid. In a time and a situation where he and his siblings could have become the dregs of society, the family managed to stick together through the determination of the oldest brothers and their grandparents, Tom and Bette Dee. Sid didn't know he was living through 'hard times'; he had nothing better to which to compare them... he rode the rails to find work, eventually married and had a family of his own while playing commercial league baseball and refinishing furniture. His claim to happiness was his children and their spouses and the grandchildren and great-grandchildren they gave him. His claim to fame was his soft heart and his tales of big fish. He grew the *best* tomatoes. He loved Canasta and Spades - and there was no one who could beat him at dominoes.

He was my daddy. And I miss him still."

He's been gone 20 years... and there's rarely a day goes by I don't think of him. Yeah... I was a 'Daddy's Girl', and I'm proud of it. I came along at the tail-end of six kids when he was 51. I tagged along everywhere I could every time I could with that 'old man': fishing, work, to the store; you name it, I was there. He was deaf in one ear (from sticking a bean in it when he was a kid - surgery to remove the bean destroyed the ear drum... in about 1906. I guess they weren't so well versed in the technique back then.) and could barely hear with the other one by the time I married Ol' Boy, but despite Mom's fears he'd mess up my wedding if we tried to have him give me away, he didn't miss a cue.

Happy Father's Day, Dad... hope you and my brothers are having one hell of a fine day of fishing followed by the usual 'championship' domino game of all time. Miss you all.

MarkEsq
06-15-2008, 04:39 PM
My Dad is battling cancer, and lives across the ocean so I can't do much to help him. He's lost his voice so I can't even talk to him on the phone. In fact, he and my mum may come over to visit in October and I'm concerned it may be the last time I get to see him.

He and I were never very close, my older brother has so much more in common with him than I do. They are the strong silent types, I am the strong loud-mouthed type. :)

And it was only when I grew up a little that I appreciated him, saw his strengths and what he did for us. He taught me two things, I think, that really stick with me. And both he taught not by words but by the way he lived his life.

The first was not to judge people. Whenever a friend or family member took up against someone, he was always the calm voice of reason, of dissent, reigning in those more eager to paint dark shadows over someone's character or actions.

The second was that you learn more by listening than talking, something I needed to take to heart.

And from him, I think, comes my love of books.

Thanks Dad, I miss you and hope you come see me and your grand kids this and every year.

Serenity
06-15-2008, 04:44 PM
It's perhaps a bit corny and cliche, but by dad is my hero. I think he's incredible in just about every way- if he would quit smoking, he'd be perfect! :D Anyhow. He was a coal miner in Western Pennsylvania for most of my childhood, up until my senior year in High School when he was laid off, as a matter of fact. When you lose a job you've done your whole adult life, it would be easy to sit back and say, "Screw it. I've done my bit for king and country." But he didn't. In fact, he did one of the bravest things I've seen: he went back to school.

I say 'back' because he tried college to please his mom, and ended up flunking out after a year. Then he met my mom, I was born, and my maternal grandfather (who, being the conservative that he was, wasn't too pleased when his youngest daughter married a hippie) got him the job at R&P Coal. Now, in order to keep the credits from the classes he had passed, and be able to change his major from physical education to MIS, he had to pull off a semester of straight A's. Oh yeah, also during this time in order to help pay for the bills (which unemployment didn't even begin to cover and we didn't qualify for any type of assistance program because we made 'too much money') he also worked two part-time jobs that semester.

And you know what? He did it. It was the coolest thing ever. He was an absolute grouch to live with for a few months, but it was worth it. We went to the same college for the next three years until he graduated, even had a class together. I got to class first and waved to my dad when he arrived, but he sat on the other side of the room-- bless him, he said later that he didn't want to embarrass me. The professor went over the roll and looked back and forth between us as he read the names. I piped up and admitted-- with pride-- that yep, he was my dad. The prof said he'd had siblings together, cousins even, but never a father-daughter team in his class.

He graduated, got a good job, and still smokes. But no one is absolutely perfect, are they? We have one-liners from movies that we zing back and forth to each other all the time, our own brand of 'I love you'. We even have a signal that came from the original 'Get Smart' tv show, our way of showing each other, "I see you and I'm here too."

He was there when I learned I could ride a bike without training wheels. He was there when I had nightmares during thunderstorms. He shared his love of old movies with me. I get my sense of humor from him. He was there when I hit my first (and only) over the fence home run, he was there when I graduated high school and college. He helped me move when I got my job here in Virginia.

He's still there for me now, a fact I am grateful for every day.

maestrowork
06-15-2008, 08:33 PM
My dad is always there for me. I remember when I almost flunked out of high school he walked all over town (and Hong Kong is a very big town) with me trying to find a new school for me. He never said anything abusive, mean, or demeaning. He never told me "you're stupid" and he never said "you're a loser for failing school." He just picked it up and moved forward. He made me realize no matter how bad the situation, there was always something you could do about it. Eventually I was able to go back to my high school and later came to the US for college.


That's just the tip of the iceberg of what he did/does for me and my family. He's the most dedicated father in the world. And everything is driven by his love for us. I grew up knowing all about love because of that.

He inspires me. I know what kind of father I want to be. JUST LIKE HIM.

Yes, my dad and I have our differences. We had some hard times about 10 years ago over things that were just not important anymore. I wrote my first book based on some of my feelings of that time. My second book (WIP) is inspired by his stories while he was in the Japanese internment camp during the Pacific War. I'm dedicating it to him.

And yes, he's a great cook. Every time I come home I just love his cooking. Yeah, I complain about "gaining 10 pounds every time I come home" but I know and he knows, I love it.

I love my dad. Unconditionally.

rhymegirl
06-15-2008, 08:49 PM
I lost my father last year. He was 90 years old.

This is what I wrote for him and read at his funeral:



As we gather together today, all of us are grieving for the loss of a father, a grandfather, a husband, a relative or a friend.

But along with our grief, each of us has some very happy memories. These memories, along with the special gifts he passed along to us, are the things that will strengthen our family, hold us together and make our lives meaningful.

We four girls had a father who taught us many things. He taught me how to play the guitar, taught me a few songs on the piano, helped me and encouraged me to learn how to draw. Now I have a son who is learning how to play guitar, another who plays piano and a daughter who loves to draw. And Dad’s other granddaughter also loves to draw. My father’s musical and artistic talents have filtered down through the generations and those things, those special gifts can keep his memory alive every time one of his children or grandchildren sings a song, plays an instrument or draws a picture.

My father also influenced his three other grandchildren. One shares his love of sports, especially football. Another likes to build things and once dabbled in painting. And another inherited Dad’s money management skills and his flair for orderliness and neatness.

We daughters remember all the Christmases with Mom and Dad—how much fun they made them for us. We remember birthday parties, graduations, vacations, and special days--with Dad snapping lots of pictures of us. And I’m sure we all recall the silly, crazy jokes we played on him on April Fools Day, like cutting up his newspaper before he got to read it (but having another one on standby), rolling up all the window shades after he’d pulled them all down, and calling up on the phone disguising our voices , pretending to try and sell him something. But he was a good sport about it and didn’t yell at us. Too much.

It’s the memories we have of him that we can hold onto and each of us has our own unique and special ones. We daughters know that Dad was always there for us whenever we needed him. We knew that we could ALWAYS count on him when we needed a ride, some advice, any kind of help—all we had to do was call him up and he’d be there. Mom knew that he would do anything for her—driving her to doctor’s offices, taking her out to breakfast or lunch, buying the groceries, running errands, taking care of the bills, and even giving her insulin shots when she needed them. That is real love, being there for people, being the kind of person others can count on.

I know that everyone wishes they could have been there to say goodbye to Dad. But instead of dwelling on regrets, instead of focusing on would haves and should haves, and instead of remembering him sick and hooked up to machines, I think that he would like it if we remember him the way he was for most of his life. I think he would like us to remember him laughing, telling a joke, singing a song, playing the organ or guitar, or painting a picture.

He lives on in our memories and I believe he’s watching over us now, still the person we can count on for guidance, love and support whenever we think of him or say a prayer. Each one of us can celebrate the life he lived, thank him for everything he did for us, and honor him by trying to be a good, kind, caring, helpful, loving person—just like he was.

joyce
06-15-2008, 08:58 PM
My dad has been gone for almost 15 years now and I still miss him. He worked his butt off for his family and never complained. I found myself comparing men in my life with my father's qualities.

In the early sixties he owned a gas station here in town and considered everyone equal. The K.K.K. showed up at his station one day to threaten him because he allowed black people to use the restroom and did not force them to use the woods. He told them basically to fu*# off and get off his property. He told them that at least they kept his bathrooms clean and the white people just trashed it up and didn't care. The K.K.K. wasn't so happy when he informed them that they could now start using the woods because he didn't want them or their business in his station. My dad wasn't a confrontational man but the balls and values he showed in this situation stayed with me my whole life. I love you dad!:)

Carole
06-15-2008, 08:58 PM
My dad has been very influential to me. He's always been the most stand-up person ever. Tough but fair, always true to his word and very hard working.

Unfortunately he's been going through a rough time over the past few years and I see him becoming very frail. It's hard to watch someone who could carry the world on his shoulders become a different person altogether.

I've heard of how it's common for a parent and child to reverse roles when the parent becomes elderly, but I really never considered that it could happen to my dad. After had had cancer a few years ago, which he completely recovered from, he's not been the same. He lost so much weight and that, I guess, started his decline. He had a hip replaced early this spring and the anesthesia really worked him over. Now his doctors see early stages of dementia which they believe is partly due to the anesthesia from the surgery. They say that some elderly people react that way and some never fully recover. It's sad now because little by little I don't know my dad anymore. No one does, not even mom.

So treasure your parents. I have a lot of really wonderful memories of Daddy, but I'm afraid that those days are slipping away fast.

JoNightshade
06-15-2008, 09:22 PM
I could name so many ways my dad has influenced my life, but I don't think y'all want to read a 10-page post, so I'll stick to one thing.

My dad grew up the oldest boy in a dirt-poor, extremely abusive family where he bore the brunt of his father's wrath and insanity. He ran away from home for the last time about 6 months before he was legal to join the navy, lived in his car, and would have starved/frozen to death if it weren't for his recruiter, who helped him out. Then he joined up and became a SeaBee, because all he ever wanted to do in life was build stuff. He did two tours in Vietnam and loved his life in the military because, and I quote, "They gave me free food and housing! How could I complain?" He built hospitals and clean water for the locals and saw a lot of friends die and came home to visit his family only once - his brother called him a baby-killer and refused to be in the same room.

I think it would have been very easy for my dad to give in to self pity, to settle for a messed-up life because it was all he had ever known. But instead, he built something. He worked hard, really hard, as a carpenter, and he married my mom and (reluctantly) had me. He swore he would never be like his father, and he stuck to his promise. Not once, not EVER, did my dad ever touch me in anger. Not to spank me, not to grab me sharply, NOTHING. He was a strict dad, but all I ever knew from this tough, burly guy was hugs and kisses. He provided me with everything I needed, most of what I wanted, and taught me to be thankful for every last thing I had.

When I was little, we were so poor we lived in someone else's barn, which he transformed into a home. But he never settled for just doing his job - he always strove to be better and better at what he did. By the time I was in high school he was the lead man on multi-million-dollar homes, and he worked his butt off so I could go to college and come out debt-free. He wanted me to have a life where I didn't have to punish my body to work, and never had to worry about money or food. The day I graduated is the only time I ever saw my dad choke up. And I think maybe, when I wasn't looking, he cried. :)

Anyway, I am thankful for all the sacrifices my dad made for me, and I hope I can live up to all he has given me.

Michael Parks
06-15-2008, 09:26 PM
My dad was old school, born in '29, growing up in Mississippi during the Depression. He lost his father at age 9, and was dropped off at an orphanage by his mother, who took her two daughters to California. Raised by his uncle and grandparents, he once set out from Grants Pass, Oregon to return to Mississippi. He was 13, and made it. He grew up and eventually married, going on to father seven children.

My dad taught us principles that didn't seem very important to us in our youth, but later served each of us in ways we couldn't imagine then. Our resistance to those lessons often made for hardships in our relationships with him, but he persevered, bringing us along a journey we didn't quite understand.

He was patient with me growing up, even though I had a rebellious streak a mile wide. Only in my early twenties did I finally come to understand the man, understand the depth of his love for all of us. Seven kids, one income, all of us put through private schools. We didn't eat expensive Fruit Loops cereals or go on vacations or buy brand new clothes, but he gave us a start in life with real values. He did his best.

I'm off to visit his gravesite in a bit. He passed in '05 from lung cancer. I have two tributes to my father. One, a poem (below). The other, this video (http://www.michaelparks.info/Tribute.wmv). I appreciate having a place to share them.

Here's to you, Pops. I love you and I miss you.


Carry Me Home

Days long, road longer
Weary, I ask of thee
Carry me home

My weakness
Born of flesh
I will not bring

From the shadow
Of earthly concern
I envision beyond

Stripped of worry
And shame
God will embrace

Years in solo
United then,
Heavenly grace

Heart asunder
Left behind I recall
The memory as it was

You have gone
And I upon the grass
Miss thee utterly

To the heavens
From the road
Each of us must go

Lord hear me
Days long, road longer
Carry me home

9/17/06 MJP

P.S. The song in the video is especially fitting, as we were all in a marching band, and he'd have us do additional practice sessions in the living room. He was the leader of our band, in more than one way.