As a little girl, I remember being the apple of his eye.
One thing I knew as certain as anything is possible to know: I was loved by that man I called daddy.
He didn't believe in spanking. He believed it was impossible to love a child too much.
And he spoiled me with love.
Being loved THAT much made me never want to disappoint that love, and I tried my best to never do that.
I'm sure there were times when I did, but daddy never mentioned it.
If I could go back, there are things I'd have done differently of course.
But I can't. Hopefully I have learned from the past.
Daddy taught me many things, but these stand out the most:
1. You can never have too much education. Get a good education. Why? Daddy only had a 5th grade education because he had to quit school to help out at home after his father died.
2. When you can't do the best thing, do the second best thing. Daddy came of age during the Great Depression. Unable to find a job, he rode the freight trains, lived in the hobo jungle and had to beg, at times, for food. It affected him for life. Some of it haunted him for life. He was always sensitive to those in need, especially women and children.
3. Daddy loved mamma. He used to tell me 'your mother is a wonderful woman". He adored her. They divorced when I was 13, but he never stopped loving her.
4. Family is important. Daddy was a family man, loved his family dearly, worked hard to provide for us, out in the weather building tanks and water towers. That work required a lot of moving around. When he tired of that, he'd buy a restaurant and run it to make a living. He was the chief cook and bottle washer and mamma waited tables. Daddy loved cooking and was a good cook. He was passionate about food preparation. At times he was a chef--wearing the tall white hat and the white jacket and apron with the tiny black and white checked pants--in a fancy country club.
5. It is important to dress properly. Daddy didn't have anyone to teach him about how to dress as a young man. He made a point to ask another man-- who was a sharp dresser--how to dress. I remember in my younger years that daddy wore those pleated dress pants, and a crisp white shirt with a collar and nice polished shoes. But no hats. Hats on men were popular in that time period, but daddy did not wear them. I have a picture of daddy when he was 36--before I was born--and he reminds me of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.
6. Love unconditionally. Anyone daddy loved, he continued to love no matter what. And he always appreciated those who loved him. I'm pretty sure he felt like a failure in so many ways. He felt things deeply, grieved deeply, but never talked about it. It took a toll on him. But no matter how bad he felt inside, he never took it out on others. He was not vindictive or vengeful. If he got down, he might be low for awhile. But soon, he'd be looking on the bright side, ready to pick himself up and start all over, with a new hope and a new dream.
I miss you daddy . And I love you. And I always will.