“She did not stand alone, but what stood behind her, the most potent moral force in her life, was the love of her father.”

This is my annual Father’s Day post. Many of you read it every year. It is about my amazing father, my funny and loving father. It brings back a rush of memories every time I read it. It makes me smile and long for my father. He was one of a kind in the best of all possible ways. This morning, as soon as I woke up, I wished him a Happy Father’s Day.

In my front garden are a couple of ground cover plants. They have been there for years. My father planted them for me. One weekend he and my mother came down to visit. My dad brought his lawn mower, a hand mower, garden tools and those few plants. While my mother and I shopped, my dad mowed the lawn in the front and the back. Both yards were fields no longer. He weeded the garden. I could see the flowers. The garden was lovely. I get to remember that weekend every time I go out the front gate and see my father’s plants. They touch my heart.

I have so many memories of growing up, of family trips and my dad trying to whack at us from the front seat and never succeeding, of playing whist in the kitchen, with the teams being my mom and me against my dad and brother, of Sunday rides, of going to the drive-in and the beach and of being loved by my dad. Memories of my dad are with me always, but today my memories are all of my dad, and my heart is filled to the brim with missing him. When I close my eyes, I see him so clearly.

On a warm day he’d be sitting on the front steps with his coffee cup beside him while reading the paper. He’d have on a white t-shirt and maybe his blue shorts. He’d wave at the neighbors going by in their cars. They all knew him and would honk back. He loved being retired, and we were glad he had a few years of just enjoying life.

He was the funniest guy, mostly on purpose but lots of times by happenstance. We used to have Dad stories, all those times when we roared and he had no idea why. He used to laugh along with us and ask, “What did I say? What did I say?” We were usually laughing too hard to tell him. He was a good sport about it.

I know you’ve heard this before, but it is one of my favorite Dad stories. He, my mom and I were in Portugal. I was driving. My dad was beside me. On the road, we had passed many piggyback tandem trucks, all hauling several truck loads behind them. On the back of the last truck was always the sign Vehiculo Longo. We came out of a gas station behind one of those. My father nonchalantly noted, “That guy Longo owns a lot of trucks.” I was laughing so hard I could barely drive and my mother, in the back seat, was doubled over in laughter.

My father wasn’t at all handy around the house. Putting up outside lights once, he gave himself a shock which knocked him off his step-ladder. He once sawed himself out of a tree by sitting on the wrong end of the limb. The bookcase he built in the cellar had two shelves, one on the floor and the other too high to use. He said it was lack of wood. When painting the house once, the ladder started to slide, but he stayed on his rung anyway with brush in hand. The stroke of the paint on the house followed the path of his fall. Lots of times he set his shoe or pant leg on fire when he was barbecuing. He was a big believer in lots of charcoal lighter fluid.

My father loved games, mostly cards. We played cribbage all the time, and I loved making fun of his loses, especially if I skunked him. When he won, it was superb playing. When I won, it was luck. I remember so many nights of all of us, including aunts and uncles, crowding around the kitchen table playing cards, especially hi-lo jack. He loved to win and we loved lording it over him when he lost.

My father always said he never snacked, and my mother would roll her eyes. He kept chocolate under the couch, hidden from everyone else, but, we, everyone else, knew. He loved Pilot Crackers covered with butter. Hydrox was his preferred cookie. His vanilla ice cream was always doused with Hershey’s syrup. That man did love his chocolate.

My father was a most successful businessman. He was hired to turn a company around and he did. He was personable and funny and remembered everyone’s names. Nobody turned him down.

My father always went out Sunday mornings for the paper and for donuts. He never remembered what kind of donut I like. His favorite was plain. He’d make Sunday breakfast when I visited: bacon, eggs and toast. I can still see him standing over the stove with a dish towel over his shoulders. He always put me in charge of the toast.

If I ever needed anything, I knew I could call my father. He was generous. When we went out to eat, he always wanted to pay and was indignant when we one upped him by setting it up ahead of time that one of us paid. One Christmas he gave us all $500.00, not as a gift but to buy gifts.

My father left us when he was far too young. It was sudden. He had a heart attack. I had spoken with him just the day before. It was pouring that day, and I told him how my dog Shauna was soaked. He loved that dog and told me to wipe his baby off. I still remember that whole conversation. I still miss my father every day. 

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6 Comments on ““She did not stand alone, but what stood behind her, the most potent moral force in her life, was the love of her father.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    As usual, I enjoy reading your father’s day post every year. Being a father myself has allowed me to forgive my own father for his many foibles and mistakes while raising us. My experiences with my own kids has allowed me to have some empathy for his decisions which were difficult for me to understand.

    Today is also the longest day of the year depending where you live. The summer solstice will occur on Monday, June 21st at 03:32 UTC (Universal Coordinated Time, or GMT). I love having more daylight in the evening and would vote to keep daylight savings time year round. Another interesting idea would be to abandon time zones completely and just go to UTC globally. We do that in the aviation world and no one has any problems. It would always be the same time everywhere. Right now it’s 14:22 UTC even though it’s nine twenty two in the morning local time. After awhile getting up at 13:00 hours would seem just as normal as getting up now at 8:00 AM.

    Today will be an even a warmer version of yesterday and I’m going to use my one day a year power over my family activities to stay at home and use the swimming pool to it’s greatest extent. Clear skies with a high temperature of 96° will make up for the year round expense of having one in your backyard. :-).

    For every other father, I wish you all a very happy Father’s Day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      I don’t have the experience with kids of my own, but I shepherded so many kids thought school. I was many things to those kids and worked to teach them the best way to do things and to make decisions.

      My father had his foibles, but I learned to ignore them except that he became a republican around Nixon’s time.

      Tomorrow will be the solstice. The sad part is it is the longest day of the year so after tomorrow the days will get shorter, minuscule at first but still shorter.

      I think the US should stop or keep daylight savings time. It should make up its mind. I’d vote for keeping it as the extra sunlight is welcome once winter arrives.

      Ghana is four hours ahead of us right now so 6 pm here is 10 pm in Ghana. Later it will be five hours ahead. That makes it will be dark quite early in Ghana if we have international time.

      It will be hot here today. I can already feel the heat coming. Soon enough, the AC will be on. I’m going nowhere but will do house stuff today.

      Happy Father’s Day!

      • Bob Says:

        My father was a dyed in the wool Democrat and dispised Nixon. Even though by the 1970s he was running his own small business, he never forgot his time organizing the wholesale shoe industry, for the CIO, in the company where he worked prior to WWII. Working long hours for low pay and without benefits was a lesson he took to his grave.

        Although, tomorrow is the traditional summer solstice, the sun will reach the Tropic of Cancer at 03:32 UTC which will be at 11:32 EDT today, June 20th. It’s just a technicality. 🙂

      • katry Says:

        My father was a democrat until he started to make 6 figures. Unbeknown to me, my brother used to tell people the same thing I did which was money made him change his allegiance.

        He was never a union man. He was mostly either in management or running the company as president. My father was an amazing business man.

        I’m glad tomorrow is the solstice because I like to post music to celebrate it, but it was Father’s Day today so that was more important.

  2. Hedley Says:

    This week celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Joni’s “Blue” and there is a stunning reflection in the NYT of a masterpiece

    Fathers Day is not a look back for me, best compartmentized and rarely allowed to surface. My children are grown and married and I have The Prince who is 15 and cruised over at lunch time. In Denver sits my grand daughter a bouncy one year old and I will head there on Thursday to spend time.

    Time is everything, I just want time with all of them. A lost a friend this week, a heart attack took him at just 61, he had high hopes to be a Pops to his first grand child but Covid took him.

    To all the Dads that are part of the KTCC family I wish you a day of reflection and happiness. Music is in the air, my daughter is on her way, all is good with the world

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I have been a fan since the 60’s, since her first album. Joni came with me to Ghana, and I think I played her album Clouds just about every night. Blue is a masterpiece.

      That The Prince is fifteen I would find mind boggling except that my grandnephew Ryder will turn 15 in July. He is amazing academically and athletically.

      It is wonderful that your two grandchildren are so far apart. You have had the joy from one for a long while and have more joy to come from your beautiful granddaughter.

      My sister and brother-in-law stay close to their kids and see them all the time. Their grandchildren, five of them now with a sixth on the way, adore them. My brother-in-law is about the best father I know.

      I agree about time. My father died far too early, mid 60’s. We missed so much by losing him so soon. You can never get back the time you’ve lost. I know people who put things until it is too late.

      Happy Father’s Day, MDH!


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