Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hideouts and Hidy Holes

There are a number of people who were instrumental in developing my young mind to appreciate and love antiques.  A 7th grade history teacher, my great-aunt Alice, my mother, others, but because today is Father's Day, I'd like to talk a bit about my daddy and the influence he had on me to seek and preserve history.

Growing up in the 50's and 60's few people collected antiques.  When I think of all the lovely pieces that were traded in for "new" things at Johnson's Furniture Store, it almost makes me weep.  Delicate French sofas and chaises, complete Victorian bedroom sets, oak pedestal tables, all considered "second-hand" by the standards of the day, but that was where my parents chose to shop.  Imagine the hootin' and hollerin' at our house when my poor Daddy tried to explain the importance of having a French commode in the living room to three kids...all under the age of 11.  Shoot...we were just fine with our American porcelain one!

I was fortunate to grow up in a household that cherished and encouraged a love for things that bespoke timelessness.  One of Mother and Daddy's favorite things to do was to load us up in our '59 Ford station wagon and go looking for abandoned houses.

(While this might be considered B&E or trespassing now, I promise you up and down, it didn't begin a life of crime for us kids!  It wasn't like we were known around town as Joe's Juvies or the House Arrest Gang!)

I vividly remember to this day one house in particular.  It was as if the family just got up from the dinner table...and left.  Everything in that old two-story was from another time and covered in dust, including toys.  I always wondered what would it take...what form of tragedy...could make a family leave everything behind.  Seeing their things...imagining their lives...that may have been the catalyst for my over-active imagination.  Who knows?  What I do know is it fueled a need to seek out old rather than new because of the story each piece held trapped beneath the layers of dust and grime.  That, my friends, is a history lesson that can't be taught in a classroom.

After I grew up and married, Daddy continued to bring me treasures he would find here and there.  Being a simple country man (fact is, I'm only one generation out of overalls) he didn't know the difference between Rococo or Rocky Road, but man alive...he knew how to pick.  He would show up in the driveway, greet me with his familiar "Hidy, Hidy!", then proceed to pull something out of the back of his pickup he had found for me.  Maybe he'd come in for a glass of tea or bite to eat, but often as not, he'd be gone as quick as he pulled up....never saying goodbye.  He never said goodbye...kiss my foot...nada...not even on the phone.  He'd just hang up, leaving me talking to myself and, but that was Joe.  Now you see him, now you don' enigma.

My daddy has been gone 24 years this November and writing to capture my memories of him just gave me some insight into his sometimes quirky ways.  His last day in this world, he had called Mother to say he wasn't feeling well.  (This may not seem like a big deal to many of y'all, but my Daddy was never ill and certainly not one to call for help.  Give him a can of Campbell's Clam Chowder and he was good to go.)  Warning bells must have been ringing in my Mother's head as she called me to go get him at his lake cabin...quickly.  Danny and I drove in the middle of a huge thunder storm, at one point actually behind a tornado, to reach him.  I was hearing the bells too and all the while in the back of my mind thinking "Wait for me Daddy.  I'm coming...please wait."

Turning the corner of his gravel road, I saw rather than heard the ambulance and the paramedics truck.  Staring at the blinking red lights, I felt the air leave my lungs.  A dream sequence, almost an out-of-body experience, began as Danny stepped out of our truck, turned to me and said "Don't move".

Watching him climb the steps to Daddy's big front porch.  Trying to read his and the paramedic's lips.  Feeling my heart pounding, holding my breath and desperately wanting to reach for the door handle.

Seeing my husband's dear face try to hold it together.  Waiting as he, head held low, slowly descended the steps. Then me...collapsing on the front seat in tears...knowing my daddy was gone.  He didn't wait....not even to say goodbye.

For a long time, I was angry with him.  He knew I was coming.  Why didn't he wait?

After all these years, the answer comes in the memories of life with Daddy.

I get it.

I finally see with my heart what my eyes, blurred by tears, couldn't.

My sweet Daddy never did like to say goodbye.

Not to the past...or even me.

Daddy, I know you're listening.  Forever...Hidy, Hidy.



the old white house said...

that was beautiful, you got me all teary eyed. He sounds like a wonderful dad Deb. love, t.xoxoxoxoxoxox

Brenda said...

I miss my dad too. Your sweet post leaves tears in my eyes.

Sue said...

You know, for some of us, those memories are always tucked tight into our hearts. You never forget them and in the blink of an eye, you have tears in your own eyes like I do now. My Dad was a character. It had been about seven or so months since my Mom had died. My Dad was declining, Alzheimers. He never forgot who I was, as we fought a lot in his later years. Mostly because he had taught me to be as bull headed as he was. With Alzheimers, eventually you lose the ability to do simple things, like swallow, etc. He was in some ghetto ass old age hospital. I walked in with my sister and asked the guy, who looked like Mr. Rogers, who he was and what he was doing. He said he was a speech therapist, which I replied for what, and had him leave. I didn't know that with Alzheimers that they too can have hospice care. They took him out of the hospital and he went back to assisted living. He died within the next 12 hours. I sort of felt responsible in a way for his death, but I knew he wanted to be free and with my Mom! Its funny how certain days trigger those memories!

Take care my friend, Sue

Lisa Phillippi said...

Aww..I don't even know if I can type with all these tears in my eyes! I still have my daddy, but I can see him declining and I can totally relate to the not wanting to say goodbye's. All growing up I was back and forth between mama's house and getting to visit daddy...and I don't think there war ever a goodbye leaving daddy's house to go back home to mamsa's that I didn't cry. Heck, I still do! Im going to go visit him in 2 weeks, I know I will cherish it!

Laura said...

You just had that missing conversation.
It sounds to me like that voice in your head, that urgency, must have been him.

You were very special to him.
They were / are the last great generation.

You got this one just right.


Garden Antqs Vintage said...

Oh Deb, I love when you tell stories of your family. I know your dad would be so proud of you if he could see you now! Hidy Hidy... Tell CD, I hope he had a great Father's Day!!

Cheryl said...

I, too, miss my daddy very much and he never got to say goodbye to me. But, I do have those great memories just like you. Your story was very touching and the tears are flowing! Thanks for sharing,

Pam @ Frippery said...

Gosh darn it Debbie, I couldn't wait for you to get back to blogging and then you hit us with this. Just beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. Sitting on my deck in a puddle now. What a lovely tribute to your daddy. You have a way with words. lYttH, Pam

Sisters Treasures said...

Hi, I don't post often, but I had to say "thank you" for one of the most beautiful tributes to your dad, that I've read. What a blessing and what a beautiful, touching story of your dad. I can so relate.
Betsy of Sisters Treasures said...

What a wonderful Daddy Day tribute, thanks. Reminds me of my own long gone daddy, also a simple, country guy.

holli said...

I can barely type with the tears in my eyes and huge lump in my throat. My Dad is suffering from very rare lung disease and i have watched him become frail in front of me. I love my Daddy and I just cant say Goodbye!!
Thank you for the most beautiful post Deb.

Lynn @The Vintage Nest said...

Sounds like you were very close to your Dad. I know that closeness and even after 27 years there's not a day that goes by that I don't think of him. He was my go to person for everything. ~ ~ It was so nice to "see" you this morning Deb. Have missed you. xoxo
P.S. that's not a jacket....that my p.j.'s. Everyone sews in their pajamas.....don't they?? :)

Debra@CommonGround said...

Oh Deb, this brought tears to my eyes. How precious are our memories! xoxo

Carole said...

It's way past my bedtime but I'm glad i stopped by to read this beautiful post of your dad. He reminds me so much of my father in law. He was such a character and also never said goodbye. I miss him like he was my own dad.

thank you for your kind words today!


Sandi~A Cottage Muse said...

I love your stories Deb, especially this one. Thank you!

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

tears are heart is so should write a book my sweet friend....this is the most beautiful tribute I have ever read...

thank you

Lou Cinda

red.neck chic said...

dang Debbie... you have me all teary eyed.

I love you.

Gracie's Cottage said...

Just catching up on my blog reading and yep, crying over your Daddy and mine. My Daddy had recently had heart surgery and called me on my 26th birthday. "I don't feel too good but I don't guess I'll die..." he said. The following day I got the call to fly 2000 miles home cause Daddy was dying. I got there in time to squeeze his hand and tell him I loved him. I like to think he heard me...