A Tribute to my father

Yesterday I wrote about the 10th birthday of my grandson. He was born in Alaska about 24 hours before my dad passed away in Indiana. Those were bittersweet times, an emotional rollercoaster ride.So, today marks the 10th anniversary of my father’s death and birth into new life in heaven.

My father was a man of strong character. His handshake was his word and he would rather walk on hot coals than tell a lie. He worked hard his entire life at farming, long-distance truck driving, and, after retirement, owning and operating a country store and gas station. Born of German-American stock, he passed his strong work ethic down to his children. He was always on the move, seldom sitting to rest except for meal time.

He told me, “It’s better to wear out than to rust out.” That was his philosophy about life. I always found it humorous when he told me that but now it makes perfect sense to me. You won’t find me in a rocking chair very often.

Dad was a devout Catholic. My mother used to say, “He’s at that church every time the doors are open.” Both my parents had a good sense of humor. Dad was proud that all his children are devout Catholics too. He sent all five of his children to Catholic elementary school and four of five to Catholic high school. The fifth child, the baby of the family, went to public high school only because they had moved to the country.

Four of us grew up in a mid-size city in southern Indiana. Then Dad retired from driving a truck and moved to his beloved farm in “God’s country,” as he called it, in the hills of southern Indiana. The farm was beautiful. He hated to leave it, and he seldom did. It’s true he made trips to Alabama and South Carolina to attend the weddings of his oldest grandchildren – in the Catholic Church, of course. My older sister and I moved out of state shortly our marriages. Heck, my husband and I left the following day for his hometown in Pennsylvania.

I think a piece of ourselves dies when a parent passes away – “We die before our own eyes; so we see some chapters of our lives come to their natural end.” I miss my dad very much. I talk to him a lot, especially when I have a problem. “What would Dad do?,” I ask myself. We have great conversations although they are mostly silent.

Forgive me for feeling a little sad today. I’ve been thumbing through Dad’s Bible lately, imagining him reading it. I’m nostalgic for the good old days, the chapter that ended ten years ago.

Peace and love, Betty

“So we die before our own eyes; so we see some chapters of our lives come to their natural end.”                                                                                     – Sarah Orne Jewett

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