...and I am very happy there.

...and I am very happy there.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Remembering "Dad"

Today being Father's Day, I have been reflecting on my own dad and the life we shared.

I was number six of his seven children, born eight years after my brother, Jim. My dad was probably thinking his family was finished when I came along.

Though dad loved children, I am sure he wasn't exactly thrilled to have another mouth to feed. We lived in West Shokan, NY on a 75+ acre farm that we didn't farm. We did have animals. I remember chickens and sheep.

Dad was gone a lot working in NYC or construction jobs in the area. When I was little and he was home, I remember feeling our family was complete and all was right with the world.

Dad was a volunteer fireman, a rescue squad volunteer, a carpenter, a plumber, and an organizer of many things for the kids in town like the library and the recreation program.

Olive Free Library

Olive First Aid Unit
Town of Olive Fire Department

My fondest memories are of him sitting on the porch or the lounge chair in the yard or by the creek, reading. He loved the outdoors and and was a reluctant hunter. (Maybe he only did it to put food on the table???)

I remember him reading Grimm's Fairy Tales to me, fishing with me in the stream and helping me with my homework.
      "What the hell kinda story is this? This is rubbish."
      "Look at the those fish, they are just sitting there watching us!"
      "What are they teaching you in school? This isn't math!"
      "If you would learn your schoolwork, like you learn those commercials, you would be a

He was a faithful son, dragging us to visit his mom in Woodhaven, NY just about monthly.

He was a traditional man. Meat and potatoes -- no cursing -- no alcohol -- no smoking.

He loved ice cream sodas and that was our treat whenever a crisis occurred. My three crisises were:  two nails in my foot (two seperate occasions) and a dog attack. Each time it was Dad who took me to the emergency room and then stopped at Babcock's for ice cream sodas before heading home.

I only remember one trip alone with dad to New York. On the way home I was falling asleep in the car when I heard him say, "Some good company you are. You're supposed to keep me awake and you're falling asleep on me."  I knew he was joking.

I remember when I was pretty small, sitting on his lap on the porch as he told me about crickets and cicadas and katydids.

The funniest memory is of Dad in the backseat of the car while I drove having just received my driving permit. When we got home we realized he had eaten half the loaf of Italian bread trying to keep quiet and maintain his sanity!

I used to get a kick out of some of his sayings. When I became an obnoxious teenager I used to tell him, "That doesn't make sense!" or "What exactly does that mean?"

Some like, "Useless as tits on a bull," were obvious.

When he would say to my mom, "Faye, tell your daughter to stop or else..." I used to wonder why he didn't refer to me as his daughter.

Only once do I remember Dad getting down on the floor to play with us. It was a vague but fond memory.

Mostly I remember Dad's smile. He smiled a lot. He loved to tell jokes. He loved to share stories and get a rise out of us. He loved Christmas. He also loved to tease, but I don't remember him teasing us (probably because my mom would yell at him). He admired women and always told us we could do whatever we chose to do.

The day he died he had been to my house for dinner. When he arrived home, he just collapsed inside the door of a massive heart attack. It was quick and that was the way he always said he wanted to go. He also would have enjoyed the humor we shared at his funeral. Dad hated downers. He always tried to see the positive side of everything and the good in people. While he may have appeared prejudiced to some, he was just conservative. So guys with long hair were "hippies" until he got to know them.

He wasn't the perfect dad by any means, but he did the best he could with what God gave him. He raised four sons and three daughters and all have turned out to be pretty decent adults. He was a man for his community and got involved in everything and helped many new startups in town that are still there today. He loved life, his family, his children and grandchildren and his community. I am proud to have had him as my Dad.