Thursday, November 8, 2012

Twenty-nine Years

November 8, 2012

Today is the twenty-ninth anniversary of my father’s passing. I never know how I’ll feel when the day dawns, and this sunny morning finds me worried about the future, the one he served to protect.

Admittedly, my father’s time spent on active duty didn’t put him in harm’s way too often. He chauffeured a general to the man’s appointments, or wherever else the man wanted to go. Of course, driving a general also meant protecting the general, or so I imagine. I also imagine it gave Dad an enlisted man’s unique perspective on the chain of command.

Dad was a soft-spoken man. He rarely raised his voice in anger. At family gatherings, my uncle, grandfather, and great-uncles would all “discuss” things, getting louder and louder as the “discussion” went along. When Dad would finally weigh in with his opinion, the other men ceased shouting and listened. I never gave it much thought growing up, but I realize now such was the measure of their respect for him.

We hear a lot these days about the “war on women.” My father would have never called a woman a bitch, cunt, slut, or a “ho.” Nor would my father have associated with men who did. He was a foreman where he worked and I know, from his own lips, he wouldn’t tolerate such dis-respectfulness. You showed that sort of attitude and you didn’t work on his job site with him.  Had I ever brought home a boyfriend who used those words…. Well, I certainly wouldn’t have anything to do with a male who used those words, then or now.  That level of insidious disrespect, the teaching of the next generation it’s okay to behave that way towards women, is the real and subversive war on women and it’s highly effective in that it eats away at self-perception and self-respect. It damages from the inside out. That’s it’s been given the stamp of approval at the highest level is frightening. Anyway, my father had an honest love for me.

I’ve got a lot to accomplish today and I will check off everything on my list. I scored my first job when I was sixteen and saved up money for the all-important first car. Dad was proud of me for being proactive about getting a car, but he was a lot less happy when I chose a FAST car…..  He was proud I managed a part-time job and kept my grades above the ninety percent mark. I think part of my current work ethic can be traced directly to his support, and his example.

While today is an anniversary to mark, not a day goes by I don’t think of him. Not in sadness - those times are few and far between - but with joy and laughter. Dad had the best sense of humor. He was quiet with it, as befitted his nature, but he could deliver a one-liner that could make you fall down laughing. Great timing. I was going through some old photos a few weeks ago and found one of him. I recognize it as being taken when my parents were getting new kitchen cabinets. I wonder what he’d say about having this picture on the Internet? 

No, I don't.  He'd laugh. 

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