07 December 2005

7 December

"A date which will live in infamy", according to Franklin D..

This is a day that means a great deal to our family.

I flew home from San Antonio today.
As I walk through the concourse on my way to the plane, I always watch the gates that have just boarded and pick up newspapers the departing passengers have left behind......
It's okay to call me cheap.....I take some pride in it!

This morning I was lucky enough to grab the Chicago Trib, the San Antonio Express-News, and the USA Today.

All had articles about Pearl Harbor, but oddly, most of the articles were about how few of the survivors remain, and how many younger people don't even know the import of the date.
What a shame.

My Dad was born on 7 December 1921.
So had he lived, he would have been 84 today. Dad started smoking when he was 13 or so, and succumbed to lung cancer two years ago.
He was truly a part of what we now call "The Greatest Generation."

Dad had joined the Indiana National Guard when he was 19. When the news came on his 20th birthday that Pearl Harbor had been bombed, I wonder what he thought about this surprise birthday present?
At 20, I suspect he was frightened, but like most of his generation, knew there was a job that needed doin' and was ready to get to work.

My Dad was typical of many Dads of that era. He didn't talk a lot about what happened to him during the war, but in the jewelry box I had found the Purple Heart and knew my old man was special. He was like that about life too.
He didn't brag. He was not formally educated, but he was the type of guy the neighbors would bring their broken appliances to because they knew if Greybeard's Dad couldn't fix it, it was genuine junk!

He was a carpenter, mechanic, bricklayer, roofer, electrician, concrete finisher......you name it, he could do it, and he could do it better than average.

I was proud of him for a thousand reasons.

When I reached manhood,
I started hugging him and telling him THE WORDS.
You know "THE WORDS" don't you?
He was uncomfortable saying them, as were all the macho guys of his generation.
And because he was uncomfortable, I was too... at first.

But over the years, the hugs and the words came more easily, 'til finally he was the hugger, and I was the huggee...
and he freely said THE WORDS...
"I love you."
I was glad I had made him uncomfortable for a little while.

So now you know, for our family this day is important for more than bombs and battleships,
although we had family directly under the bombs on the West Virginia at Pearl, too.

I'd like you to share the importance of this day and honor my Dad by being the hugger.
Give all those you love a hug for me today, please, and say THE WORDS.

I know my old man would like that.
Happy Birthday Dad.
I love you.

6 comments:

Oleprairiedog said...

Brother, I loved and admired your Dad, I admire, respect and love his son and family. Peace to you all.

Jason said...

This post made me think of my own dad, and how I appreciate him and the rest of my family more and more each day. Thanks for that.

TwoDogs said...

Happy Birthday to the Harley Man!
Bless your family and all those families that made the Valley what it was 'back in the day'.
My family took more than one of the new fangled appliances to him to fix. Will never forget the Valley and all those that grew up in it. Glad you are home safe.
Going South for a few days!
You,Sara Jean and Big Bubba have a great Holiday and remember to take care of those in your care.....

Mommanurse said...

Thanks for this, you wrote that better than I ever could have. The cat that loved Daddy best sat ON me ALL day yesterday. He doesn't do that.

John said...

My thanks to you for a wonderful and sensitively written post, a nice reminder to all the dads and sons out there, huggers and non-huggers alike.

cj said...

What an amazing tribute to your dad, Greybeard.

We're a lot alike - you and I. My dad, though older, enlisted shortly after Pearl. And he never talked about it. I don't remember a single story. all I know is he was stationed in Hawaii for a time and left the Air Force as a First Sergeant.

And, he could do everything.

Thanks for stopping by my place. Thanks for your kind words there and your wonderful words here. They brought tears and a smile.

Neat trick, that.

cjh