While watching October Sky for the umpteenth time recently and crying at the end when Homer tells his dad that Wernher Von Braun, the German rocket physicist was not his hero that he was, I was reminded how much I loved and love my dad.
My dad started out as a sharecropper in South Georgia in the 30s. Times were hard then and he and mom made the best they could of life during that time with two children and four more coming in the 30s and 40s.
I think back today as I am writing this article to the many things that I miss about my Dad. He died March 21, 1992 at 85 years of age after breaking a hip and never recovering.
I miss the long talks that we had when it was just the two of us alone. I miss the stories that he had of the old days when he grew up. I miss going to eat catfish with him at our favorite restaurant in Thomaston, Georgia and always after we finished our meal him sitting there drinking another cup of coffee and smoking those short camel cigarettes. I miss him not being here to see both of my kids Steve and Karen grown and in their life’s work. I miss him never seeing my grand boys, James, Thomas, and Sebastien. I miss him spending the night at my house and getting up before dawn and making the coffee and drinking half a pot before I stumbled out of bed to join him. I miss how safe I felt even as an adult when he spent the night with us. I miss going to church with him. I miss him going to work with me at one of the radio stations I worked for. I miss him going with me on a paper route many times while I was going to college. I miss him telling stories about him and mom and some of their hardships. I miss him encouraging me when I was down. I miss giving him a kiss on the cheek when I would leave him sometimes and seeing him standing there almost in tears. I only started doing that in the last few years before he died. I also miss him begging me not to go sometimes and how now I wished I hadn’t rushed off. I miss buying him gifts for special occasions especially his birthday, Christmas and Father’s Day and how appreciative he always was. I miss those big strong hands of his hugging me at times. I miss hearing his fierce allegiance that he had for all of his kids especially when it looked like someone was being unkind to one of us. I miss the smell of his Old Spice Cologne that he wore. I miss the arguments that we had and now wish there had been less. I miss the pride that he had in me. I miss him deeply.
Fathers are supposed to be there for their children. They should cheer them up when they are down. They should allow themselves to be used as a lighthouse for the children when they are off course. They should build up their children not tear them down. They should give them advice when asked. They should do what Homer’s father did in October Sky. That is allow their children to become what they want to with their lives and be proud of them even when they don’t follow in their own footsteps.
My dad was all that and more. I now feel the same about my son and daughter as Dad did about me when he was still here. I am quick to anger about anyone that says anything negative about my son or daughter. I am deeply proud of my children. I will support them with all my being, cry with them when they are sad, laugh with them when they are happy, argue with them when I feel they are wrong but most importantly love them.
Fathers Day is tomorrow and I plan to spend some time with my daughter, Karen and my son Steve and tell them how proud I am of them and how much I love them. I urge everyone to do the same for their children and also tell your father if he is still around how much he means to you. If he is not with you, you can still thank the Lord for him and take a few moments to indulge in some of your special memories.