|You see, my father was forced to work his whole life. Born in 1931 in the throes of the Great Depression he hardly had a childhood. His childhood was spent hard at work and afforded him little opportunity for an education. Still, he managed to help his family and his beloved mother weather the storm of poverty that was so prevailant.
Through all the hard work before I was born this man always made the time to be good to his nieces and nephews. I learned of his kindness for them as I grew older. I learned how he always treated them as his own before he had kids and worked to help them all along the way. I learned how he made them into undying Kentucky Wildcat and Chicago Cub fans just as he had me. Before I or either of my sisters came along my father already had children who adored him because they knew that they could depend on him for more than hard work and help, they could depend on him for undying eternal love and generousity.
Then my sisters and I came along. With a family of his own and with his nieces and nephews grown my dad concentrated his love on us. I never realized how lucky I was to be blessed with such a fine, decent man to be my father. And as his only son he loved me with a love that none other will ever show. Growing up I watched him work so hard all the time. Working midnights at Colonial Bakery and coming home to go to mow cemetaries and do other odd jobs. While we were not rich and never would be myself and my sisters were wealthy in one thing. Love and attention from my dad and mom.
My dad taught me all this time by example. He did not have a great education to teach me book smarts because his childhood was spent working in the family fields during the Great Depression. What he did teach me however was so much more valuable than anything you will ever read in a book.
He taught me work ethic. That a man has no excuse no matter what the odds to not at least try to pull his own weight in the world. He taught me love. Whether speaking of his mother whose death he never got over, or constantly putting his children and his nieces and nephews before himself he taught me that some things are more important than money. In doing so he taught me generosity. He knew nothing of the greed that has gripped many in this country and in fact caused me to despise it.
And now as I write of this man, whose wonderful heart gave out on him almost three weeks ago the tears are still running down my cheeks. I know now the pain that must have been in his heart as he told me of his beloved mother whose death he never quite got over. I realize that I am not sad for him but for me. His work which he did for almost all of eighty years is over and I am sure that God has called him home to be with his mother and his brothers, sisters and father in heaven which seems so far away to me sitting here.
But he will live on. Everything my father was I wish to be, and wish my country could be. Selfless. Tireless. Full of love and giving for not only his family but those in need. His wonderful gaze spoke not only of courage but of kindness, generosity and all that is good in human nature. While he was not perfect he was surely the greatest father I ever could have had.
So my new years resolution is to be more like my dad and to hope that many folks in this country who are so absorbed with greed and idiocy can be too. To work hard and share the bounty of that work with all those I love instead of stashing it away like some miser who cares nothing for his fellow man. In short I miss my dad so much and I swear as long as I live his spirit will live on in me and I will fight for the values he tried to instill in me through all these years both good and bad.
God bless you daddy, I love you so much and will miss your wonderful voice and gaze for as long as I live. I just wish my country could be more like you.