Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Joe Cool

Tomorrow is Father's Day (like you needed me to remind you of that) and while I could wax poetic about Cat Daddy being the ultimate father, I thought I would talk about my daddy, Joe. Some of the photos I'm using you have seen before, but hey, they are my favorites. You know how when you are growing up, you were embarrassed being seen with your father? I never felt that way about mine. He was such a cute and funny little man...all my friends wanted him around. He and Mother met at her Sweet Sixteen birthday party. I don't know if it was love at first sight for her, but it was for him. When he went into the service during WWII, he volunteered for the paratroopers. When we asked him why years later, he just said he didn't know any better. But let me tell you, he was proud of his service time and went to their reunion as often as he could. Mother and Daddy married five years later just as soon as he was discharged. Daddy taught Mother a lot of things that he had learned while in the service such as swearing and how to make S.O.S.! She taught him table manners and praying before a meal. Together, they taught us the importance of always having someone think we were special even when we weren't. Self-esteem was never an issue at our house. Once when Kerri and I were at the beauty shop with my grandmother, a woman made the mistake of remarking how beautiful Kerri was. Daddy put his arms around the two of us and replied that BOTH of his girls were beautiful!
Daddy worked hard all his life. He worked in the cotton fields pulling cotton to buy his older sister her senior ring. Money was nonexistent in their family. He grew up during the depression when there just wasn't any. He dropped out of school after the eighth grade to help support his mom and two sisters. That was one of his only regrets, but he made sure that all three of his children would never know that kind of hardship. He did go on to get his G.E.D. to show us that it was never too late. We weren't pushed, but there were certain things that were expected of us, with decent grades being one of them. College was made available to us if we wanted to go. Not pushed, but if it was something we wanted, he made it happen. Daddy had a machine shop in town and was considered one of the best in his line of work. He built racing engines for dirt track race cars and had a waiting list that would make GM green with envy. It's amazing to me to see industrial pieces now so hot and expensive when this was his equipment in his shop. Sure wished I had some of his work tables now!

Daddy coached little league baseball, ate fried chicken out of crepe paper decorated shoe boxes at father-daughter Girl Scout picnics, sat through countless talent shows, football games, dance and piano recitals. When I was grown and performing in American Cancer Society musicals, he always had a seat at the back of the auditorium. I can still hear his laughter above everyone else's! You see, to him I was the star!
Daddy was saved when he was 39 years old. As with everything he did, he threw himself into church. He and Mother were always in demand as chaperones for church hayrides, socials and camp trips. He was such an imp and knew how to have a good time. He taught Sunday School, R.A.s, Training Union class and anything else that had to do with the kids. He could short sheet a bed with the best of them and did frequently. (In fact, he was continuing that little trick with his grandchildren when they went to his lake cabin for a weekend!) He knew when to look the other way if a boy and girl wanted to pitch a little harmless woo...as long as the girl wasn't one of his daughters! That wasn't what made the kids all love him though. It was just his love of life and finding joy in everything and everyone. Making friends was never a problem for him. He was just naturally outgoing and had that charm that drew people to him. Easygoing, slow to anger, gregarious, loyal, quick with a comeback...that was my Daddy.
Daddy valued family. He was adored by his sisters, respected by his father-in-law and babied by his mother-in-law! I've told you that Marie was a beautician...she was notorious for giving Daddy waves in his hair, dying his eyelashes...anything to make him even more handsome...and he allowed it! Daddy was a man's man, but he loved the fuss. Now before I have y'all thinking he was some kind of saint, I need to point out some of his faults. Daddy believed a man should take out the trash, change light bulbs, take care of the cars and mow the grass. The housekeeping...that was Mother's job. Occasionally he would cook, but oh my when he did! We did love it when he went to the grocer's. We never knew what would come out of those paper bags nor did Mother, but she never said a word, just rolled her eyes!

If Daddy was sick, he never went to the doctor. His cure for everything was clam chowder. You had the flu...clam chowder. Headache...clam chowder. Upset stomach...clam chowder. Campbell's stock rose during his lifetime, he used it for so many remedies!

He loved to sing and wrote many songs...never published. He was an inventor and held several patents for things he had designed...never manufactured. He wrote a book...never published. This didn't keep him from dreaming big. David was going to be a doctor, I was going to be the next Patsy Cline and Kerri was going to marry a rich man...didn't happen! Even these little setbacks didn't keep him from dreaming or from trying to be the next Texas millionaire. That is one trait he did pass on...to dream big and try. The worst that could happen was you had to try again...so what?

My daddy loved his grand kids. He taught them all how to play hickey and took delight when they could beat him! He was there for every birth except Jenn's. He thought he had time to take a shower, but I delivered in less than a hour after getting to the hospital. He was just more than a little put out with me...like I could have waited! The kids all thought he hung the moon! Every one of them thought he or she was his favorite. If he came by to get Joey, Jenn would jump in the truck as well. He taught her how to fry liver with onions and Joey how to drive his '52 pickup. Law, how he loved that pickup! He had Joey on those back roads as soon as that boy's feet could reach the pedals.

I loved my daddy, faults and all, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss him. We lost him in 1988. Daddy was only 64 and while that was way to young to leave us, I figured God needed one more toothy smile in Heaven.
Daddy, if you get to read blogs in Heaven...I love you and Happy Father's Day!
Love always, Debbie

24 comments:

Debra said...

Oh Debbie, I hung on every word, you painted the most loving picture. Even though we haven't met, it seems to me that you must be filling his shoes, just fine. Thankyou for introducing me to him.
Debra

Sue said...

Debbie,what a heartfelt post, had to tab the eyes a few times. Both my parents grew up during the Depression, my mom in Texas and my dad in Missouri. He too was in WWII. My dad, as much as I loved him made me crazy but loved me and my sister. He died early Valentines morning in 2007, five months after my mom, the love of his life! He loved his grandkids, and thankfully he had a few times before he died to hold his great-granddaughter Riley! Sue

delighted heart said...

Girl you are amazing again. This is one special tribute to your dad...he was one special man. And I'm sure they get computer time in heaven to read all the blogs. That's one reason I'm writing mine! It's my little talk with my mom everyday! My daddy went on to heaven way too young too...at age 66. He too grew up in the depression and served in WWII. I wish I could remember as much about him as you do yours. Kudos to you for honoring him is such a beautiful way. You did him proud!
Hugs!
Patti (who has resorted to putting vasoline on her teeth to keep them from sticking to her lips....from smiling so much!)

Cassie said...

There's a tear in my eye, this will be my 14th Father's day without my much loved Dad. Just like your dad, he was likeable, fun-loving and charming; made friends wherever he went. Your beautiful post helped me to take stock of all the wonderful things about my own dad that I don't ever want to forget. I thank my heavenly Father for giving me the perfect earthly father and I thank you for sharing from your heart.

summersundays-jw said...

Dad's were just different back in our days -- they just were what they were. We knew they loved us and would protect us & would bring home the bacon. Guess that's called security. Have a wonderful father's day & stay cool. Jan

Jena Williams, Not So Shabby Interiors said...

Deb,

What wonderful memories of a great man,your dad! I just enjoyed this story so much as I lost my real dad at a very young age,2 so was unable to get to know him but I feel like if I did he would have been alot like your dad! Thanks for sharing a wonderful man in many ways,YOUR DAD.

Zita - Mlle Magpie said...

Debbie, of course they read blogs in heaven! What a loving tribute to your incredible father.

David said...

This is my fifth Fathers Day since my own dad passed away. I love the beautiful tribute you wrote to your dad. But the best evidence of what a great father he was is YOU. I'd say he did a mighty fine job!

Anonymous said...

Girl this is such a wonderful tribute to your Daddy!! What a amazing Father he was and it is so nice that you have a gift with words..you musta gotten that from him!!!! I enjoyed reading this post and felt like I was right there watching your life unfold!!!! Maybe you should write a book.. your storytelling is just amazing!!
xoxo
Blessings
vintagegirlatheart

Jodie LeJeune said...

Awesome post Debbie...I see where you get your great qualities from! This had to be the best Father's Day tribute yet!!!!!!
I'm sure he's blushing in Heaven...
everything vintage

Primitiques 'n Poetry said...

Debbie, once again your ability to express your thoughts in writing strikes me. Such a gift. And what a wonderful tribute. The memories flowed beautifully. Thank you for sharing your memories and your Daddy with us. Much love. ~Mindy

misselaineous said...

Debbie...What a wonderful tribute to your Dad...tears, laughter and love all rolled up into one sweet story, as only you can do. Thanks for sharing this gem with us...and I sincerely hope they can read blogs in Heaven!! Hugs, Debbie *elaine*

lorhen82 said...

Debbie, I can't believe how similar in background our dads were. They sound so much alike! Yesterday I felt a small panic that I hadn't bought a Father's Day card yet...just for a brief moment...and then I realized he's not here anymore for me to give him one. This is my first Father's Day without him. I do miss him sorely! Your father sounds like he was so very wonderful! Aren't we lucky to have had such great dads???

Hugs,
Lori

tales from an oc cottage said...

What a precious tribute! Thx so much for sharing!
(was your father a paratrooper in the 101st?)

m ^..^

Tootsie said...

beautiful post!!! have a great rest of the day!

The Green Pea said...

Debbie, heartfelt story so well told. You have the charm of both of your parents. Someday I would love to meet you in person. Thank you for sharing all of the wonderful memories of your family. You are so blessed. Dad just loves your blogs too. Sandi

Dixie said...

I love this story of your Daddy and your love for him is evident in every word...

have a wonderful week... I hope our Daddys are us there together smiling down on us today.

thedomesticfringe said...

Debbie, this was just beautiful. I read on with tears in my eyes. Your Daddy was certainly a wonderful man and you've given hime a great tribute. Be sure he's smiling down on you with pride in his eyes and a deep love in his heart.
-FringeGirl

Jen r. said...

Your daddy sounds like a wonderful man. What a lovely post. Jen

Cactus Creek said...

i would love it if just once i could visit your blog without crying like a baby. you have the most amazing way of making me feel like you're writing just to me. thanks for touching my heart, again. xo,fancy

Lou Cinda said...

Debbie: This was such a beautiful post. Your daddy would be so proud. I lost my daddy when he was 62 and I, too, think of him and miss him everyday!

Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute.

Lou Cinda :)

Tamis said...

What a sweet post written with genuine love. Wish my Dad was as cool as yours! Ah-well, the therapy is working out for me... :) Just kidding...kind of. :)

Bonnie said...

Debbie, my gosh, I wish I had known your father! My dad has passed as well and there isn't a day that goes by that i don't miss him.

Unique Unique Design said...

What a touching tribute to your father. He sounds like a wonderful man. I know this is a little late but am finally getting back on the computer. Also, so great to hear Bella is over 5lbs. Amazing! Love the recovered chairs, too. I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
marcie