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Monday, June 18, 2012

Life With Father


Yesterday many of us celebrated Father's Day and while trying to make the day relaxing for my husband I also spent the day reflecting back on my father. He was the best father any girl could want.  I wish my scanner was working so I could have upload some of my favorite pictures of dad.
By profession he was an iron worker, and on the side a plasterer. I wanted to plaster as well, and tried to talk him into teaching me while I was still in high school. He said if I could lift the bucket of the wet plaster he just mixed he would teach me.  Back then I was all of five foot three weighing in at about ninety-five and that bucket of plaster was not budging from the floor.  Needless to say, I did not follow in the family side trade. 
When I was just out of high school, not sure of what I wanted to do, I toyed with the idea of being an iron worker.  (Refer back to what I used to weigh).  He was actually willing to give me a shot because there were few female iron workers and it was 19 ___ (omitting year here) so it was Equal Opportunity and all. Actually, I think he may have made the suggestion. My older brother became an iron worker and it worked out well for him. So, I was just about to give it a shot, go down to the hall, become an apprentice (journeyman – can’t really recall the proper term right now) and start building those muscles tying rods. Oh, and getting some sun.  Perfect summer job.  Except, in order to get out to where I would need to be I had to walk this tiny beam (okay, I know it wasn’t that tiny but it was an iron beam) over the river. I know that there was a net to catch me if I fell but I was still up high.  As soon as my father told me this, I focused once again on college. I didn’t care that I was giving up starting pay of something like $15.00 an hour. I am scared to death of heights.
I never appreciated how hard these two jobs were when I was still in grade school.  As an adult, I am surprised dad wasn’t physically exhausted when he returned from work each day.  Instead, he usually found all of the neighborhood kids in the yard playing baseball (there were enough of us for 7 on each team), and he would change his clothes, come outside and take over as pitcher for both teams. 
I should point out that the “ball field” lay between the house and garage.  The areas was big enough with the corner of the house being first base, the street (where it met the yard) as second, the corner of the garage as third, and the former sandbox (the wooden part long ago destroyed) was home plate.  Outfield was across the street, but neighbors were used to driving slowly down the road in the summer. As soon as the spotted the second baseman and the two outfielders, they would brake and look before determining if it was safe to continue or risk losing a windshield. 
It should also be mentioned that at the side of the house there were two windows and one on the garage.  At least one window was broken each summer, but dad didn’t seem to care. As an adult, I now realize how much that must have cost him.  But, he had as much fun as we did and as fall came around, the patched window was replaced with a new one (no sense putting in a new one while we still had weeks of baseball).  However, there is still a crack in the one on the garage. It never got repaired and I hope it never is.
My father was a scout leader, sat on the school board and president the year I graduated from eighth grade so he presented me with my diploma.  We didn’t have middle schools back then.  I went from Kindergarten through the eighth grade in the same building.  
I can remember family vacations, most of which took place in the Lake of the Ozarks at a lovely little resort.  Not the spa type that I wouldn’t mind relaxing in.  This had a pool, cabins, the Sugar Shack, which had pinball games, juke box and soda machine.  My father spent the day on the dock, or taking a boat out to fish.  We visited there several summers and it is where my father taught me to fish, where we learned I was a water witch (water witching), and someone bought the wart on my big toe for a quarter (it did disappear in about a month).
I learned from my father to have fun but have a strong work ethic.  Laziness was not tolerated, but relaxing when a job was finished was expected. And every Friday night he and my mother dressed up to go out to dinner and then dancing, returning long after I had gone to sleep.  I remember the first time he bought me a drink and when he let me take a sip of his beer while we were mowing the family cemetery. 
Eventually I grew up, married and moved out of state. I lived in Tucson for three years.  During this time, my father became ill and I remember getting the telephone call from my mom telling me that dad had cancer.  I flew home many times over the next year until we could move back for good.  My first visit upon arriving that Saturday morning after the moving truck was left in the drive was to go to the hospital and see my dad.  He died the next Tuesday.  So many people have said that he waited to see me one last time.  I don’t know if it is true or not and sometimes wish I would have never moved away, so I wouldn’t have missed those last  precious years with my father, and the rest of my family who remained in the area.  And, I certainly wish he could have been here to know my children. My oldest was 18 months when he passed.
So many times I wish he was still her, to give me guidance or his wisdom, or simply go fishing.  He was also an avid golfer. I tried to learn, but I just can’t swing a club and hit that tiny ball.  I think one of the few times I ever saw my dad frustrated was when he was trying to teach me to golf.  We gave up before I ever stepped foot on a golf course.  My brother and sister got that talent from him.
What fond memories do you have of your father?
   

Amy De Trempe
Duchess of Decency

21 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Amy,
    Your father sounds like a great man. All of my memories of my dad revolve around being on the lake laughing and having fun. I wish my family lived closer so we could spend more Father's Days with my dad.

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    1. Samantha,

      Sometimes I would love to turn back time and be that kid again fishing with my father, who teased me because I didn't like using worms, so he always bought me a bucket of minnows.

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  3. Amy, that is so sweet- it made me tear up a little! I'm going to miss my dad terribly when he is gone. I'm an only child and we live two streets over from my parents, they are in our lives constantly. Which is a good thing!
    My memories are good ones. My dad used to joke that because I didn't have a brother to pester me, it would have to fall to him. And he did (DOES!) a good job, lol! He was a "horseplay/rough and tumble" kind of dad, but we also spend many nights watching a movie, with my feet in his lap.

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    1. Olivia,

      Those are wonderful memories. I think some of the best dads are the ones who take time to play.

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  4. Aw, what a sweet post, Amy! Your dad is alive and well in your heart, clearly :)

    My dad is pretty awesome. He's the parent I can get drunk with. LOL! He's always been super supportive of anything I wanted to do, and he taught me everything I know about baseball (football and chess didn't stick nearly as well, though. lol)

    One of my favorite things he used to do when I was a kid was ask my friends "Do your parents fight?" It was mostly to embarrass my mom (who would always swat him and yell, "DEAN!!!"), but to this day I think it's hilarious how many 10-year-old kids answered that question honestly.

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    1. Jerrica,

      My first swig of a beer was with my dad - lol. My mother used to swat at my dad too. Usually it was in the kitchen while she was cooking or doing the dishes and he would come up from behind her, grab around the waist and kiss her. She would swat him him and says "VIRGIL!!!" I thought it was silly as a kid, but on reflection, and through adult eyes, I can see how great their marriage must have been.

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  5. Your dad sounds amazing! What a lovely tribute. People scoff at holidays like Mothers and Fathers Day, but I love that we stop to reflect on what our loved ones mean to us.

    This Father's Day, my 91 yo Grandpa got a pedicure as a gift. He loved it! And is already planning on going back. He's such an amazing man, always the measuring stick for everything that is wonderful about men in general. I never imagined him getting his toes done. For some reason that just tickles me!

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    1. Deb,

      I had to giggle at your 91 yo Grandpa getting a pedicure. I cannot even picture my father doing that and can almost hear some of his comments.

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  6. We gave my Dad his Father's Day a day early this year, since my brother had to leave for deployment readying yesterday. I love reading about your Dad, how he'd play ball with the kids when he came home and all.

    Some of my best memories of my father involve him being with his family--his parents and siblings and aunts and uncles and cousins. He becomes a different man with them, almost like he's a little kid again.

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    1. Catherine,

      I am sure this father's day wasn't the happiest for your dad. Prayers that your brother stays safe and back in the states to enjoy Father's Day next year.

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  7. What a sweet post, Amy. My dad was diagnosed with MS when I was seven, so he couldn't physically play with us, but he was very involved and supportive. He genuinely enjoyed being a father. Now, he gets the biggest kick out of spoiling his grandkids and turning them against their parents. He's rotten. ;}

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    1. Andris,

      Ya gotta watch the parents when they become grandparents. I think they spoil the grand kids so they get back at their own kids for any grief that may have been caused. The grandparents have fun and can go home, leaving us with little monsters - LOL.

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    2. That's absolutely my plan for the future. I've been wishing my three kids just like them when they grow up. :}

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  8. Amy what a beautiful post. My dad has always been the driving force behind my ambition and my confidence. He's always told me "If there is something about your life that you don't like, then change it. You're the only one who can." And it clicked for me one day. Instead of moaning about my fate I realized it was time to get up and make a few changes. I've quoted my dad so often in my life, to my kids and even several times in my stories. He's the most brilliant man imho and I love that he always took the time to sit down and play clue with his six year old little girl every time she wanted to play. I've made more than a few mistakes in my life but I'm determined to spend the rest of my life close to my parents to make sure that everyone I love knows how much I adore them. My parents are my best friends. I'm not sure what I'll ever do without them and this post just makes me realize how little time we all really have. Thanks for a sharing such a wonderful tribute and sending a gentle reminder to us all.

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    1. Suzie,

      Your dad sounds awesome. My dad was always one for encouragement and following your dreams. My one regret is he never knew I became an author. I wonder what he would have thought. Then again, maybe he knows. I would like to think so.

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  9. This is such a lovely tribute, Amy :) Your dad sounds like he was a truly wonderful person. I, too, am blessed with a great father. When I was in grade school, any time we went on field trips, the other kids would ask if my dad could come :) I inherited my gift of talking to just about anyone from him, as well as a bit of my stubbornness ;) Thanks for sharing your memories with us, Amy!

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    1. Erin,

      That is great that the other kids wanted your dad around. Most the time kids just want the parents to be somewhere else. Stubbornness? I haven't really noticed that trait in you. However, I am envious of your ability to talk to anyone, as in complete strangers, and be comfortable doing so.

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  10. You have a fabulous blog! I’m an author and illustrator and I made some awards to give fellow bloggers whose sites I enjoy. I want to award you with one of my homemade awards: the Best of Romance Blog Award. There are no pass along requirements. This is just to reward you for all the hard work you do!

    Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.
    ~Deirdra

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    1. Deirdra,
      On behalf of all the ladies, thank you! Your illustrations are beautiful. We are honored to be awarded the Best of Romance Blog Award and we'll wear it with pride.

      Best wishes!

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  11. How sweet, Amy. I love that you have such great memories of your dad. :) Growing up my dad was out to sea six months out of the year, but when my dad was home. He *was* home. I can't count how many field trips he went on, usually with a group full of little girls that all had to go to the bathroom at the same time. LOL!

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