My father was the youngest of four boys from Dayton, Ohio. They lived through the Great Depression with little to call their own, but they had what they needed.
When my Dad turned 18, he bolted from a town that he didn’t want to be in and joined the Army. He was stationed at Ft. Campbell Kentucky where he met my mother.
On the weekends, the soldiers from the base would catch the bus into town to go to the USO, where my mother and grandmother were playing the piano and singing and the troops could meet some of the local girls.
My mother was the only child of an influential local businessman, during a time when soldiers were NOT as revered as the heroes they are. It was a time where you NEVER heard anyone tell a soldier, “thank you for your service.” They were third class citizens, and they were definitely not supposed to mix with the local girls.
But Saturday nights were the exception. Everybody needed to sing and dance every now and again.
My Dad broke all of those rules and started dating my mother, and they fell in love and married. My grandfather was NOT happy. I was born just a few months after my grandfather died, so I never knew him.
MY kids never knew my dad.
My dad continued to work for the Army as a civilian and when the opportunity came to travel, he packed up his family and showed us the world.
We lived in Europe from 1963-1967. During those years, I saw France, Germany, Spain, England, and Switzerland. I had a childhood that other kids could only dream about.
After France pulled out of NATO, we transferred half-way across the globe to the tiny island of Okinawa. In 1969 I had had enough, and came back to America where I finished high school and went to college in my hometown.
I left my family at the age of 16 and having grown children of my own, I can only imagine how difficult it was for my family to let me go. It devastated my late brother.
My dad was totally committed to his family and his boys. He was tough and could wield a belt. It was “yes sir” “no sir” and respect your elders all the way. We didn’t have much, but we traveled the world. He worshiped my mother, and we had what we needed.
I credit my father for what he did for me and the values he instilled in me. I passed those along to my children, especially my son who is now the father of two boys.
I’m so proud of my son and the father and husband he is. He was born to be a family man and he is absolutely the best. He is FAR better than I was at that age, and he will be better than me the older he gets.
But, that’s what you want isn’t it? For your kids to be better than you?
My dad died in 1980 at the age of 52. WAY too young and with so much to live for and to see. He never met my children and he would have absolutely adored them. I’m sad about that.
But, I’m here and I’m blessed to be a dad AND a “pops” to my precious boys.
On this Father’s Day, I’m hoping you have great memories of your dad, and as a dad yourself, I’m hopeful you’re surrounded by amazing family on this special day.
I’m blessed to have had the father I had. So I could be the father I was, for my son to be the father he is, and to be the “Pops” I was born to be. I’m blessed to have children, Kathryn and Seth.
Here’s to hoping you have a fantastic Father’s Day, and maybe it involves a ride on your motorcycle. After all, it’s your day and you should do what you want. God Bless you all!