Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dad and Daughter

There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself. ~John Gregory Brown

Pic above: Dad's high school graduation portrait. He and the other boys in his graduating class each borrowed the photographer's jacket and tie for their portraits.

I spent a wonderful Friday afternoon at my Dad's house, just talking and being together (along with his wife), catching up on things, sharing memories, being present to one another. I count myself enormously blessed to still have him with us. He was born in 1929 and will be 80 this year. Mom crossed over in 1990, and we all miss her so much; I can't even think of Dad's crossing over without tearing up. I pray he lives many more years; he's had a couple of strokes, which have affected his memory, and as he says, he "can't hear worth a darn." He's been recently diagnosed with depression, probably because of his wife's own health challenges. He mourned so deeply when Mom crossed over and I'm sure he doesn't want to go through it again.

Pic above: Dad about 20 yrs. old

He's always been my hero, my champion, the most hard-working man I've ever known. He always worked two jobs throughout my childhood, rising very early, coming home very late, stopping home for a quick dinner between jobs. I had ballet lessons and piano lessons, one brother had trumpet lessons and a beautiful Besson trumpet, another brother played sports, paid for by Dad's long hours to ensure his family had what we needed to excel in life.

Pic above: Dad's ship, the USS Ernest G. Small. My youngest brother is named for the ship.

Dad's a quiet man with a wicked sense of humor and a multitude of catchphrases that always make me smile. My cousin Patsy's told me that when thinks of him, she always remembers his sayings, like "she looks like 40 miles of bad road."

His mom was half Apache and people can see the Native American in him. I asked him yesterday what his father was; "Good for nothing", he said, and left it at that. His father was an abusive man who did some pretty horrible things to all in the family. I think Dad's quiet strength comes as a result of a very hard childhood.

Pic above: Dad's Navy portrait

He loved being in the Navy, he's told me, and loved to be out at sea, away from everyone. I'm so much like him in that way, very comfortable in my own company, not one for big crowds and commotion, very calm and peaceful. I once painted an oil painting for him of a flowing river, because that's what he reminds me of: a smoothly flowing river, constant and calming.

Pic above: Some of Dad's medals and a letter from the Korean government commemorating his service in the Korean War.

As the only daughter, Dad may have spoiled me just a bit. For every ballet performance, he always brought me pink roses. When Mom would get frustrated with trying to teach me to cook or crochet or sew, she'd send me outside with a terse "Go outside and help your father!" My love of gardening developed because of him; I could spend hours digging in the dirt with him. Sweetpeas are my favorite flower because of the abundance of vines he grew against the chainlink fence in the backyard.

My Dad's my hero, my champion; a man of strong integrity, polite manners, a good, noble heart, kindness and gentleness, strong faith. I'm proud of him, and I adore and love him with all my heart.


dec0r8or said...

It's so good to hear such wonderful things being said about a father, Rose. I think we are two very lucky girls. Our dads are awesome. :)

(I also feel myself wanting to give you a "thumbs up" here, like on I LIKE this post! ;)

Kelee Katillac said...

Such a tender tribute Rose! I think age does wonders for us all...I just came home from dinner with my dad and the level of compassion I felt and real openness has shifted and emerged.

I can see the native american in your face too...also explains are certain spiritual genetics I sense in you!


paintergal said...

I'm so happy you were able to spend that day with your dad.
I know you cherish those times together. My dad has been gone almost 10 years now. I miss him.

Cindy said...

Oh! I love this post. When I saw your Dad's picture, it reminded me of someone. My brother's girlfriend is 50% native American. Her father was adopted and he's 100% native and was raised in an Anglo family here in Nebraska. Thanks for the tribute to your Dad.

Lynn said...

So sweet, Rose. I'm so glad you love your Daddy so much.

Took care of 'that' with her surgery, the uterus had to come out.

Love you.

Britt-Arnhild said...

Goden memories :-)

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi, Rose, what a great post about your Dad! We're both very blessed to still have our daddies around. I just adore mine too. I didn't know you were part Native American Indian, that's cool. I've always loved the Indian culture.

Thank you for stopping by. I'm getting rid of all my silk green stuff too, a lot is already gone. Still have a bit to go. Feels much better!

Anonymous said...

Hi Rose, had to pop in and see what you're up to. I'm sooo happy you enjoyed time with your dad recently, and know what a blessing that time is. And, my all time favorite, Neil Young's Harvest Moon really made my Sat. night. I think you caught his cleverness, and garden talent is evident. Thanks for sharing sweetie!

Carol stewcarol

Anonymous said...

A beautiful post. My Dad is 89. I'm in his hospital room at the moment. He has aspiration pneumonia and is doing better than earlier in the week. Four of us are alternating staying with him almost 24 hours a day. It is the least we can do for all he has done for us.
Any prayers for his comfort and healing will be greatly appreciated.
Kate Michelle

joan said...

What a beautiful, touching post. I think you so lucky to have such a dear father and to still have him in your life. You are blessed indeed.

Daisy Cottage said...


Loook at beautiful you and your sweet Daddy!

I "hear" how much you adore him in your words and I am so glad that you have each other. I can totally relate to how you describe your relationship. There is nothing wrong in being a "Daddy's Girl" - what a blessing! How sweet that he always brought you pink roses for your recitals. What a beautiful love story about a father and a daughter.

Love to you,

jessica said...

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Anonymous said...

Oh Rosie,
I'm just in tears after reading your story and seeing pictures with you and your dad. What a beautiful tribute. You both are so fortunate. My dad passed in June of '86 but we didn't have a connection like you did with your dad. It's so heartwarming to read a story like yours. Ahhhhhh