In a recent email I had someone ask about my Dad. What was he like and maybe I would share some stories about him. This is part of my return email to Carol. I decided to share it so you could all have the chance to meet Dad at least for a moment.
Let's see - my Dad was the youngest. His sister died at 22 months. His brother was born 3 years later and then my Dad trailed by another 5 years. My grandparents owned the local dairy bar and that is where my Dad grew up. Dishing out ice cream, making milkshakes, and frying burgers. He had a great childhood. He skipped kindergarten and was found sleeping on the front porch, hung off the back of a train as it went through town, and took my grandma's Chevelle drifting - before it was ever called that.
He was the youngest pilot in the US for at least a few moments. He got his pilots license before his driving one. That was his dream. But, a snowball with a rock in it caused him to slowly loose the sight in his left eye. By the time the airline pilot school got back to him (and accepted him) my mom was pregnant and they had gotten married.
For the first 6 months we lived at my grandparents and then they built their current home. Dad always worked 3rd shift. He would come home as I was leaving for school. For about a week he and I worked on a complicated handshake that only we knew. It ended with us touching our thumbs together and "flying" our hands upward.
He would always buy me airplanes and helicopter toys. That's what we played with. He loved to take a ride. We drove to Ky to see the caves, NC for the mountains, and wherever the mood took us. He carried me on his shoulders until I was 10. I was his little girl.
And the stories -- oh, the stories. Let's see -- he loved riding motorcycles and told stories of racing them (my mom raced too and 2 uncles) he talked about his friend Allen crashing his motorcycle beside my grandparents house. Grandpa had just sat down to a steak and he saw this bike bouncing and crashing in the field. Totally ruined Grandpa's appetite. Grandpa blew a gasket and yelled at all the boys. Mind you they were all over 20 and some nearly 30.
His favorite story though was about my sister. They went on a canoe trip down the river. She needed to go to the bathroom. He pulled over and let her out. She squatted into nettles. Needless to say, she wiggled for quiet awhile - he was loving it! He finally told her the only way to get home faster was to paddle. That's all it took. She put the paddle to the water and got them home in record time.
Dad and I looked at life the same way. We are both pretty laid back, slow to anger, but will let you know where you stand. Our sense of humor meshed. He was ornery and I appreciated it. His laugh...deep hearty real. He would cough until he had no breath left and then sneeze.
I got him in trouble once. His feet used to sweat a lot. And he had a terrible habit of taking his socks off and leaving them in a pile by his chair, Mom got sick and tired of picking them up and would let them sit. I came along and took a pair that had sat there for a few days. They were RIPE! I placed one sock on either side of Mom's pillow. She thought her pillow went sour. For three days this poor woman would flip her pillow trying to find a non-smelly place. Finally, she couldn't take it anymore and stripped the pillowcase off finding Dad's socks. She read him the riot act. He proclaimed his innocence -- all to deaf ears. She KNEW he was guilty and would have none of it. He came in complaining to me and I lost it. He finally got the truth from me and boy did he march me right in to Mom to tell her the truth. He had nothing to do with it.
He was the one that placed the bows from Christmas presents on his forehead. Dad would eat the deviled eggs off your dinner plate. He would come up behind you in his truck while you were mowing and honk his horn to see you jump. He would hide behind doors as you came in the house to scare you.
My Dad was a great man that I loved. Yes, he had faults but his heart was good. He will be missed.
Tears again after reading this. Sorry, Pumpkin no disclaimer yet...