Posted by on June 19, 2005

Happy Father’s day Pop.

My father comes from humble beginnings where keeping the farm working was far more important than the War, Politics, or even school. Before school every morning my father and his brothers and sisters had to take care of the farm first. Feeding the hogs, chickens, and cows. Gathering the eggs from the chickens and milking the cows. Checking the string beans and tomato cages for overnight damage and repairing said damage if some were found. Without the garden and livestock they would go without because a mechanic for the L&N Railroad (my grandfather’s job) didn’t really pay that much. He gave up on school at the end of the 8th grade because he had other things that simply had to be done.

Father left the farm at the age of 16 and came to Lexington where he drove a truck. He eventually found his way to the Maintenance department at Eastern State Hospital where he met a striking red headed gal who after 4 years he married. Another 4 years later I came along and Dad’s life changed. He sold the motorcycle that had helped define him and walked away from a wilder side. He was a father now and he took the role seriously.

Money was tight and Dad was determined to keep me from the life he lived in the depression. We kept a garden but it was he working the garden in the mornings and not me. Having no recognized education, dad had to do what he could do to keep the mortgage paid and food on the table. He drove trucks as a small business owner for many years. During the summer he would win contracts from the city and state to haul for the various road projects. During the winter he would remove the dump bed from the truck replacing it with a fifth wheel so he could haul tobacco. One winter he kept the dump bed on the truck and spent weekdays and nights in West Virginia hauling Coal. That was the winter that Mom and I played monopoly every night. I knew why dad was hauling Coal and respecting him more and more for that decision as I get older. I will never have children have to feed, nuture, and protect. I think that just amplifies my respect for him because I know that if I had a child it would be almost impossible to leave them for any real length of time. Yet there he was.

Many years later, I was married and had a home of my own. My salary was more than he and mom combined had ever made. Still, when I would leave from a visit Dad felt compelled to give me alittle money. “You may need this.” or “You got some money?”. I learned that there was no point in saying, “No, Dad…I’m fine”. That both hurt his feelings and pride.

There is nothing in the world I won’t do for this man. He has given me more than I will ever fully know or understand. As he said when I was a child I will repeat it. He will never go without and he will never even want for anything. If I have to work 24/7. He did at times work 24/7.

I love you Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

Last modified on June 19, 2005

Categories: Family
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