Thursday, January 30, 2014

THE MEASURE OF THE MAN: TRIBUTE TO MY FATHER




My father died last night.

He went to sleep--peacefully.

My mother and I were with him

He was the only man who has been present in my life and for me -- all of my life.
He was a faithful and loving husband and wonderful father.
My mother is missing him.
My sisters are missing him.
His grandchildren are missing him
His sons-in-law are missing him.
I am missing him.

My father died last night.

Seven years ago for his 80th birthday surprise party I wrote the following piece as a tribute to him.
As I reread it--through both tears and smiles and rememberings-- these words still define the measure of my father.




The Measure of the Man   

Measurable 
My father can be measured by the words that define him.
As a little girl I remember my father always seemed to have a tape measure handy in his pocket—ready to measure whatever needed measuring.  And it seemed like back then there was a lot to be measured.
                                  

Knowledgeable
I also remember he always had a word in his pocket.
He is knowledgeable about just about everything, could give a word or two or a sentence on any topic--- and he could speak volumes in his areas of expertise….engineering, construction, geology, mechanics, aviation and airplanes, finances, mathematics, cars and science, and the list goes on.
 

Talkative
See Knowledgeable J  

Infallible
This is a word from his measuring stick J In his own estimation, he has never been wrong.
 

Faithful
He is faithful to God, working tirelessly on various church commitments and efforts.  He is faithful to his wife, family and friends, working overtime to provide for his family with all that he thought we should have, and continuing to be there for both family and friends.
 

Handsome 
He was and continues to be one of the best looking men I know with a smile that suggests the mischief he has just spoken or performed, or the devilment he is about to do. (When he first met my mother at The Ohio State University, she asked what he was studying-- he replied Devilment!)
  

Handy 
He can fix, build, erect, construct, invent, or create what ever is needed for whatever purpose …and he can do it quickly.   We had hardwood floors and a finished basement in the house in Shepard. In addition, there was a pool always in our yard, and an ice-skating rink, along with a tether ball court. Of course, the obligatory swing set that everybody else had was also present. He made sidewalks for Grandma Whiting…. And made everything in her house work also.  Our cars were never out of service long. Our skates were sharpened, our bikes always fixed and our toy room had plenty of shelves to hold all the toys, games, and dolls.


Heroic
Daddy is the one who killed the bugs and caught the squirrels, birds, raccoons and other creatures that happened by accident into our home. He was the one who carried the “big stick”  in case of bad guys.  We were always safe when he was around.
 

Fearless
Not only was he not afraid of the bad guys, but several times he demonstrated by both words and actions that he was not afraid of the “uniformed good guys.”  Those guys in blue took second place to getting home to the gash in Rhonda’s head, to get Renee and her broken arm to the hospital in record time, and to helping a petty thief beaten bloody by the security guards at Gold Circle.
 

Willing
At a time when it would have been easier to go to bed after watching the late night news, or before that hour, he waited up in order to pick us up from weekend parties, dances and other events.  Most of my friends were told by their parents, Yes, you may go if you can get a ride.My dad was always the ride!!
 

Connoisseur
Daddy enjoys eating good food and cooking good food.  He loves to eat out…Chinese, pizza, any restaurant instead of home… especially his favorite breakfast spots, McDonald’s and Bob Evans.   He cooked most breakfasts that I ate during my childhood and most weekend dinners.  I never understood why at someone else’s house we would have to wait until a “mom” came home to cook .  It did not work like that in my house.
 

Progressive
In addition to cooking, Daddy, very ably and comfortably, did things that I took for granted but soon discovered were “ women’s” jobs…..He cooked, cleaned, sewed, ironed, combed our hair…whatever needed to be done.  He was the supportive, egalitarian husband…before his time.

Advisor
My father is very wise, worldly and experienced.  He often gives advice on how things should be done....little things and big things.  He enjoys this role.  See Knowledgeable
 

Intelligent
My father is one of the smartest people I know.
For me, the connotation of serious intelligence usually involved numbers and math.  He was a wiz at these…See Knowledgeable
 

Curious
I don’t know anyone else except my dad who relishes a good bloody operation on The Discovery Channel or the Learning Channel.  He also enjoys sharing the details.
 

Humorous
He is a quick wit and bounces with laughter at the funny parts or sometimes when he has said something that tickles himself.
 

Affectionate
He gets a weekly ration of hugs and kisses from the ladies at church.
 

Trustworthy
His word is his word.  If he says he will do something, you can believe him.  He will be there doing whatever he promised, whenever he said he would.
 

Proud
My father is proud of all that he had accomplished during his lifetime…. and rightfully so.
My father is now resting-happy and healed in God's divine light, perfect peace and eternal life.
My father died last night.
I am missing him.
 

Today's Deeper Writing Possibilities

Think about a person--living or dead-- who is important in your life.

How do you measure that person?
What words define him? What characteristics does she exemplify?

Write about this person using words and characteristics from your list as a starting point.

3 comments:

  1. Dear Robin, What a beautiful tribute to your father. He sounds like a wonderful man and how lucky you were to grow up with a dad like that. I will keep you and your family in my prayers...praying for God to wrap his arms around all of you and bring you the comfort you need. Hugs!!

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  2. Just lovely, Robin. So sorry you have to experience this loss. I hope you and your family can find comfort in your memories and in each other.

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  3. Thank you both for your kind words and thoughts and prayers. They cover us like a warm blanket during this difficult time.

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