Saturday, April 4, 2015

BLOGGING A-Z CHALLENGE LETTER D

DADDY

I write a lot about what my Mom went through when I was a child. I just noticed I don't speak much about my Dad. He was there too but he worked a lot to support my Mom, my sister and me.

From a young age, my Daddy was on his own pretty much. His mother died and his father remarried. For reasons I don't want to get into I'll just say my father and his sister were sent to live with an older couple. This couple gave my Daddy and his sister a roof over their head and food. They were poor and could not do much financially but they had a heart of gold to take my Dad and Aunt in. God bless their souls.

He loved to box, played some football and baseball when he was in high school but had to give it up to work.

Dad started working delivering papers and other odd jobs for clothes and personal items for him and his sister. (I've been playing with this grammatically for an hour now, him and his sister? He and his sister? his sister and he? "SIGH" Any help is appreciated for next time.)

He graduated from school and went work at the salt mine on Avery Island. He started working under the mine and worked himself up to Hoist Engineer. After putting in the years, he retired.

He served in the Army although he does not talk about it. I don't think anything bad happened, it was just never talked about. I didn't even know he did until I was an adult.

I remember I was scared of him at times. Maybe because my sister would get in trouble and he would yell at her and whip her with a belt. I really don't know. He is the most kind, generous and loyal man.

While Mom was at the hospital with me, he took care of my sister. 

As I got older and I was home more than in the hospital, I was less afraid of him.

He would come outside with me and play pitch and catch. I realized later he was not only playing with me but he was also helping me with my eye-hand coordination. I was actually a strong thrower. But when it came to catching, I freaked. 

I remember once when we were playing, he would tell me to keep my eye on the ball, catch it and put my hand over the ball to not drop it. He would throw underhand softly but once that ball would come closer I would squeeze my eyes shut and more times than not, the ball would hit me. He is an impatient
man but I could tell he was hanging on by a thread many times. He told me if I would catch the ball, it wouldn't hit me. I eventually got the concept and realized he was right. HA!

He also showed me pointers in batting.

In our kitchen there was a space between the refrigerator and the sewing machine where I would hide when he would come home. You see, a whistle blew at certain times before and after shifts as well as lunch and other times.  So I knew when he was coming him. So I would run and hide in that space. When he would enter the house and right before he passed I would jump out and call out "BOO!" He would jump and yell as if he was surprised. I'm sure he was expecting it and he just led me to believe he was surprised.

One day, I was a teenager and had just earned my driver's license.  I was allowed to drive to a country store about 5 miles away.  Even with a big parking lot, I backed into a ditch. I have no idea how I did that. The owner called my dad. As I waited for him I was petrified. When he arrived in a cool calm voice he asked me how I did that. I had no answer. After the tow truck got the car out of the ditch (No damage thankfully) he told me to go home. I was stunned. He sternly instructed me to get in the car and go home. That was the last thing I wanted to do but I knew better to disobey him so I drove home so very slowly while he followed me. 

When I was a little older I was coming home on a back road. My parents told me over and over and over NOT to take the back roads. There was a sharp curve and I was going to fast I slid into the ditch. I ended up backwards. Cell phones were not popular then. So I waited and waited, scared to death that someone was going to come rape and kill me. If that didn't happened I was screwed anyway because I would have to face my Daddy.

I don't remember how long after but I saw a car coming far away. I flicked my lights hesitantly. Luckily, it was two former classmates and they stopped. They brought me home. I had to wake up Daddy to tell him. He went to where the car was and babysat it for the rest of the night to make sure no one vandalized or stole it.

The next morning he asked me if I learned anything. I indeed did!

Even though I saw anger in his face, I also saw concern. He always asked if I was hurt first.

Years later, I think in 1983-1984 I received a phone call at work stating that my Daddy was rushed to the hospital. He had been at a meeting and one of the men noticed he wasn't talking right and then he collapsed. I was told he may have had a heart attack.

That moment I realized my Daddy was not invincible. I went immediately to the hospital. He had a stroke. He stopped smoking that day. I never thought I'd see my dad stop smoking because he is a nervous man. But he had to choose to stop smoking or he was going to die and leave us. He chose his family.

He had to stay in the hospital for a few days nearly making everyone nuts. As I told you my dad was an impatient man and didn't like that being confined. Everything was out of his control.

His main concern I kept hearing him say was he had to go back to work. He was terrified that he would not be able to support his household or if he stayed out too long the salt mine would replace him although his bosses visited and reassured him that it was not going to happen. I saw my Daddy struggle  for the first time. I cried every night when I went home after visiting him.

Except for some residual hearing loss, he fully recovered and eventually went back to work until he retired.

If anyone calls my daddy for help he is there, night or day. When I called Daddy for something he was there. I know if I pick up the phone at any time and ask for help he will be there.

He used to find used bicycle parts and make a new used bike. He then gave the bikes to the poor kids in the neighborhood.

Since he retired he has never stopped. He continues to be involved in the church being Usher, making sure repairs are done, etc. He mows and takes care of his lawn along with 2 or 3 widows' in the neighborhood. He helps a former co-worker doing surveys for property. He is always helping someone.

When I call and ask Mom what daddy is up to she always says somewheres in the neighbor helping someone.

My dad didn't express it much but my sister and I knew he loved us. He showed us in so many ways and continue to do so.

He also has a sense of humor. He is something else. I would be sitting at the bar in our kitchen eating and he would pass by and stick his finger in our ear. It was annoying. But we all have been poked.  He makes everyone laugh at his nonsense. Maybe that's where I get my silliness from.

My parents never really talked to me directly about my Cerebral Palsy. They said I had CP but can't was not in our vocabulary throughout my childhood. I was treated like they treated my sister.

When I was in the 10th or 11th grade I was eating in the kitchen and Daddy came in. He was not a man to show his soft side and he never acknowledge that I was handicapped before, or that I can remember. He said that I needed to think about what I wanted to do after graduation. I just mumbled acknowledgment of his spoken words. I could tell he was trying to figure out what to say. I had no idea what he was trying to say. It was awkward.

My Mom and Dad 2014
Then he said it. He told me there was a harsh world out there and because I was handicapped that I would need a form of higher education to prove myself to future employers. He said it wasn't fair but it was the way it was. I would be judged solely because of CP so I needed a degree to back me up. When I told him I was leaning towards becoming a nurse he told me he would pay for my education ad continue to support me when I was in school.

This is just a fraction of who my Daddy is. A funny, loving and caring Daddy. I know I am blessed to have him in my life.

1 comment:

  1. Stopped by from the A to Z challenge and really enjoyed this post about your Daddy. I was a daddy's girl in some ways but can also relate to being somewhat scared of him when I was younger. He passed away a few years ago so I really miss getting to know him more in my grown-up years.

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