Saturday, June 20, 2009


My Dad has been gone for one year. My family went to the cemetery. We prayed, we talked, we laughed, we cried, but above all, we missed my Dad. We spent a lot of time telling stories about him, mostly they were funny. I remember that he was really dismayed about me. He tried to keep his temper with me, but I tried him a lot. My mother always says, that if my Dad wasn't a very nice man, I might not be here today. Was that an exaggeration?

My brother looked at me at the cemetery and said "Thanks for breaking Dad in." "I didn't get any of the punishment you got." "I think you wore him out." We all laughed at that. I don't remember getting any punishment I didn't deserve. He taught me a lot of things, some tough, some easy. All of them have stuck.

Mostly, he taught my brothers and I what it was to be a man. A man takes care of his family. A man doesn't worry what comes to him, he only worries about what he gives to his family. A man doesn't want glory, he wants his family to be successful. All of us are. A man does what a man has to do. My Dad worked two and sometimes three jobs to get us a house. The first house he bought cost him $9,500. He bought it with the GI Bill. He bought a brand new car in 1962 for $1,000. It was one of his proudest moments. Everything he ever bought he worked for. That in his eyes was America.

He fought for his country and never thought twice about it. War? That's what Americans did. He always said "I would do it again," because that's what being an American was all about. My grandfather fought and so did he. His brother fought and so did he. End of story.

I can't write here what he taught me because there isn't enough space. If my brothers and I have become anything it is because of my Dad. He is what I have always tried to be. Most of the time I fell short, but I continue to this day to strive to be someone he is proud of. I hope I made it.

This is one of his favorite hymns. He loved it and everytime it played in church he sang the heck out of it. I wonder if he loved it because he saw so much of his life that didn't have peace? I would like to see him together, with my grandfather, grandmother, and my uncle. I think they have a lot to talk about. I would love to hear that conversation.

My Mom is doing fine, although after 56 years, she really misses my Dad. Someday they'll be together again. I think my Dad will say, "What took you so long, Helen?" She'll say "I had to take of some things down here first." My Dad will say "Ah Jeez, redhead, I'm happy you're here."

My brother and I were convinced that Dad is a greeter in Heaven (like WalMart) because he was so friendly and sweet. Although, God probably had to tell him "Charlie, not everyone can get in."


Brooke said...

Your dad sounds like a great man; he must have been to inspire such love in his family.

I'm sorry for your loss. Even a year later, it's hard.

Donald Douglas said...

Very moving story, LOT. Thanks so much for sharing.

PRH....... said...

Lost my dad on Christmas Eve 1972...he was only 55, I was but 23. You never forget those good times, or the trying times. I think of him at least once or twice each day.

Z said...

I'm linking to this...what an amazingly beautiful post, L&0.
I'd have liked to have met your dad...and I know you'd have liked mine, too.
PRH, there's NEVER a 'good time', but that is SO tough a time, and so young. I'm very sorry.

Thanks, Law & Order...I'm going to link to this on my Father's Day Post; it needs to be read. It's a wonderful reminder of what a father should be.

Anonymous said...

Someone once observed that a person never dies until there is no one left to remember them; it is the closest we can ever get to immortality. In this sense, your Dad continues to live on within you and your family. This was a wonderfully thoughtful piece, LOT. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Semper Fi

Law and Order Teacher said...

Thanks for the visit. We're moving forward and yes he was quite a man.

Thanks for the visit. You're becoming quite the blogmaster. I read your blog several times a day. Big league.

Thanks for the visit. I had my dad a lot longer, he was 79. I with you. I think about him many times everyday.

As usual thanks for all your help and posts. I am honored to be linked by you. I know you must miss your dad. This isn't the best of days to remember. It's kind of painful.

Thanks for the visit. I love the way you have with words. Your writing is exemplary. Kerry needs to know that those of us who were in the military have a good brain. We didn't just join because we had no alternative. We wanted to serve our country. There's a lot to be said for those who were taught by the example of our parents to love their country and to do the right thing, simply because it was the right thing to do. Thanks again for your service.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

LOT, I'm sorry for the passing of your father; mine passed away in February of this year and I miss him every day. In his honor we're having a barbeque at my brother's house, but the fourth chair, this afternoon, is quite conspicuously absent. My two other brothers were lucky to have 10 more years with him than me. How do you cope?


sue said...

L&OT - That was a very touching tribute to your dad - with the choir singing in the background.

Law and Order Teacher said...

I have no magic formula. I try to look at it within the framework of my faith. I know he is in heaven and is enjoying the fruits of a life well lived.

I have a lot of things to keep me busy including coaching soccer. I'm with the players everyday and their energy and enthusiasm is infectious. I refuse to get down and have a bad day. God bless you. I hope you find peace.

Thanks for the visit. He loved that hymn. It wasn't a hard pick.

Anonymous said...

Dad really did sound like a grat man and a great Dad.. God Bless

Law and Order Teacher said...

Thanks for the visit. To me he was a great man. In the scheme of things he was just part of the Greatest Generation. Thanks again.