Key page to help you connect the dots...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

....With thoughts of my dad for every Father's Day without him....


The photo below is my dad gazing out the window onto
Lake Chubb, Chesapeake Beach,
Virginia Beach, VA.

Circa the summer of 1967 or 1968.

No edits, just a simple scan enlarged. 

Which is actually very appropriate for my dad. He didn't mince words, yet was very quiet most of the time.  But, not necessarily soft spoken.  He just talked loud simply because he was deaf in one ear.  He had a miraculous healing from an illness that almost killed him when he was only 40.  An illness so dangerous and devastating to his body, he required very rare brain surgery.  An infection so bad, he was in isolation, running fevers that would most likely kill someone else.  But, the Lord undertook and wove together a plan using a particular surgeon many states away.  The moment he heard about my dad, he was on his way!  This amazing surgeon traveled to "fix" my dad and he did it with prayers and the Lord guiding his hands.  He was the best one for the job, as he'd developed the incredible and much less invasive procedure.  My dad was written up in the American Medical Journal under "RH" for his unique story of survival.  So, he never ever complained about not being able to hear out of one ear.  He knew what odds he had beaten, yet spoke of it, the rare times he did, like it was a cold.  I could go on and on about how strong and how sensitive and, of course, stubborn he was up until the day he went home to be with the Lord, but perhaps one day down road, I'll pick up where this entry I've left off.

He was indeed larger than life. Each time he allowed himself to become close to another human being, or an animal, the receiver knew the special gift they'd received. I've heard it several times in reconnecting with people from my growing up years recently, as well as people who met and knew him during his later and last years of his life. As he accepted "you" your heart was enlarged.   He spoke so few words, I literally had friends at the beach during my teen years who would count the words he spoke to them on their fingers.  They never ran out of fingers.  They always ran a tally of Dad's "today's words".  

If you really wanted to have a conversation with him, your best bet was to call him on the phone.  He had phones in every room in the retirement home he shared with my mother.  Sometimes, two phones.  One for him and one for her.  He wanted to make sure my mother didn't have to try to make it to the phone, nor he, whenever my sister or I would call, or his granddaughter.  And if we needed help in any way, whatever it was, he would try to make it happen, or give advice. 





 
I Just adore this photo exactly the way it is,
as it was taken with my father's handy dandy Polaroid Camera.
One of several he had over the years.  I believe he had the very
first one ever made! 
Most definitely, this is my most favorite photo ever.
It's a shot that I've duped for special family members...
my mom, my sister, my niece and my cousin in NC.

My dad was a dad to many. Not just family, but friends of my sisters and to friends of mine. He was a father and best friend to my husband.  Beyond a parent and buddy.

He was a daddy and granddaddy to every pet I have ever had.

I called him "daddy"; my sisters called him Richard as did just everyone else who knew him.  The exceptions were my best friends who indeed called him Mr. Holland, and his work buddies called him by his nickname, Dick.  His grandchildren called him "granddaddy". Two grandsons carry his name, as do two great grandsons.

There are two copies of this photo in my home.
One I keep on my wonderful work table in my bedroom,
while the other is on a table in my living room.
Each time I look at this photo, I always say in my mind how much I'd love to be *not* in his head, nor in our beautiful beach house on the Chesapeake Bay where it was taken. But, in the exact spot where his eyes are gazing.

I look at this photo often...
It reminds me of the person I am...
My roots and I'm the last of my dad's line, so to speak...

My father was what one would call a "solitary" man.  As I shared above, truly he was a man of few words, but he showed how much he loved our family by working hard and by doing things for us. He was a hands on kind of a guy, yet a bit distant at the same time. Believe it or not, I'm kind of that way, too. I'm not a touchy feely huggy type of person, but if I can, I'll be there for my loved ones.

And, when I can't, it tears me up.

But, this isn't about me... it's about Dad.

If I could be one place on this earth again...
go back in time, I'd choose to be in that spot...
Right where his eyes are gazing...

He could be looking at anything.
We had a lovely lake behind our home, Chubb Lake.

There were ducks, geese, a pair of Swan, and a loner Swan we'd named Jake. He'd literally come knock on our patio door for bread.

We'd have Cranes and Herons visit the narrow sandy shore to the lake.  Also, Carp would jump out of the water, often.

And we'd get eeeeeky snakes.

It could be anything. 

Quite possibly one of our gorgeous Live Oak trees
all twisted by many many years and the weather.

One time when he was traveling out of the country two of my best friends and I (Buzzy and Zack) painted the little pier we'd built from scrap lumber the color of peach sherbet. My dad didn't say anything to me, but I bet he did to my mom.

Is he looking at the peach pier? Is it bothering him?

I've asked Mom about this photo and she says she believes he's mad. I honestly don't think so. I believe he's pondering or musing. He could be speculating or contemplating. Figuring something out.

Granted, he does look very serious. Most of the time he always wore a mustache and when he'd shave it off, he looked a bit different.

I think he'd just shaved his mustache off and was regretting it.
Well, it's possible. ;)

There are several questions I have all intentions of asking him when we meet again in Heaven.

The first will be what was on his mind in the photo???

The second will be who in the world snapped this photo???

My sister nor I can remember...
It could have been her...
It could have been me...
My mother never ever picked up a camera...

Or, did one of our relatives snap it during a visit to our home?

Knowing my dad, though, he very well could have had taken it himself with a timer.

He was one gadget loving man. 

5 comments:

Dasha, Former Sarong Queen of the East China Sea said...

"granddaddy to every pet I have ever had" My parents have "grand-dogs" so I know exactly what you mean!

Jeanne said...

Dasha, it's nice to be in good company! Right now my mother is grandmother to four rescue Springers and three rescue kitties. :)

Gigi said...

What a beautiful and loving post, Jeanne! Isn't it amazing - all these years later - that "words" are something you and your beloved Daddy have in common?! He, selective...you, seeking.

I think, though, come that day when you see his face once more - all your questions will simply fall away...and all you will want to do is hug his neck and just breathe in your Daddy!!

Rocket Man said...

Jeanne, this really struck close to home today. My dad passed away 7 years ago yesterday. He spent 26 years in the US Navy and retired as a Chief Petty Officer in 1968 after more than 26 years in uniform. I can't help thinking that if he could choose a day to pass away on, the 4th of July would be hos choice.

Jeanne said...

RM ~ I suspect you get some peace about your dad's passing on Independence Day. The patriot he was, it certainly couldn't be more fitting. Perhaps, he did choose it. For me, I'm honestly relieved to get the month of June and finally now, the 3rd of July behind me. We buried my dad on the 3rd of July. July 4th besides being the day as citizens of the USA celebrate our glorious country's birthday, each year since my dad passed away, it's the beginning of things getting back to normal again. Although we have peace, and it's so easy to find joy even in the tiniest moments, "that" June in 2006 is still freshly etched in our minds, hearts and even emotions. The Fourth sort of sets things right, again. Thanks for sharing about your dad, I'll now think of him, too on the Fourth, as well as you and your family.