Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day.

My father was a career soldier. He joined the Army after he graduated from high school and knew nothing but hard work from an early age. My mother was a stay-at-home Mom. They were young parents and raised five children. Although they divorced when I was grown they kept us together for 20 years and always put the family first. When money was tight, my Dad would take extra jobs to put food on the table. My parents took cleaning jobs on nights and weekends and eventually started an antique clock and restoration business. At one time we had over 30 clocks hanging on the walls, many of them chiming on the hour and half-hour.

I remember my father sitting at the dining room table many nights as he polished his brass and spit-polished his boots.

I remember my father getting up before daybreak and dress in his uniform to make PT by 6 a.m.

I remember especially the time he returned from Vietnam, surprising us as a cab dropped him off in front of our house. He got to meet my baby sister for the first time. She was 9 months old.

I remember the many moves we made across the country and overseas, tackling the moves and keeping up with five kids, ages 2-12. When we went overseas we had to wait more than a month to get our household goods and all of our belongings, not to mention, the family car. My parents were champions to get us enrolled in new schools, find us temporary housing, and never lose any of us at the airport!

My parents always managed to get us what we wanted for Christmas. I had to have a guitar when I was 13 years old. Standing next to the Christmas tree that year was a real guitar, just for me. I needed money to go to London on a high school trip when we lived in Germany. He managed to come up with the funds. The older I get the more I appreciate what my parents did for us, too often with limited resources.

My Dad helped my buy my first car at the age of 19. I had saved $700.00 and he loaned me the other $700.00 to buy a red Volkswagen beetle. I paid the loan back.

When I was a teen-ager, like every young person, I thought my parents were too strict. My siblings and I didn't have the freedoms that young people now have. There was no dating or "hanging out" before a certain age. We had household chores to do. It was ingrained from an early age that we were a military family and our actions could influence my father's career.

My father wasn't a soapbox type of Dad. He didn't lecture us a lot. We knew what was expected of us.
He showed us what it meant to have a work ethic. He didn't have to tell us what it is.
He showed us what is meant to be patriotic by serving his country.
He showed us what it meant to be responsible by taking care of his family.

I'm sure there are a lot of Dads just like him. Let us honor them today.