My father died when I was 22. My dad died before he ever got a chance to see me amount to anything. He never got to see his grandchildren grow up. I never had the opportunity to ask him advice on buying a home, how to be a good parent. There was a song when I was growing up entitled, “My Dad”, which had a line in it that said, “He wasn’t much in the eyes of the world, but he was the world to me.”
That pretty much summed up my dad, he didn’t leave us much in terms of worldly goods, but he did leave a great roadmap. I’ll share with you one story…back in the 50’s we took a family trip to Florida and I can remember being in a gas station in the south and my dad was trying to pay for the gas. There was a black man who was in the store ahead of us and the clerk behind the counter wanted to wait on my dad ahead of the black man. I can remember my dad saying to the clerk, “But he was ahead of us.” The counter guy then proceeded to tell my dad that, “Whites get waited on first” The black man turned to my dad and said, “It’s OK mister”, but my dad looked back at the guy behind the counter and told him, “He was first.”, this time in a much firmer voice. The clerk then muttered something under his breath about my dad, and waited on the black man.
Being a little boy I can just remember watching the whole thing unfold in front of me. I had to look up at my dad because I was about belt-high in height. My head kept turning back and forth between my dad, the clerk behind the counter, and the black man.
As an adult I recall that event and I now view it from an adult’s perspective. My dad knew the social rules of the time, and it wasn’t just my dad trying to be polite. He never said a word to me about it, not on that day, not on any day after that. I looked up at him that day, but I continue to look up to him close to 50 years later. I don’t remember many Christmas gifts, or birthday gifts…but I do remember this gift…how to treat others.
After all these years, I now know that it all comes down to memories. Not cars, homes, clothes…its memories…that’s how we live on in the hearts and minds of the people who loved us.
So dad…all these years later you are still loved and missed every day. Happy Father’s Day