Saturday, June 17, 2006


Father's Day Without Father

Tomorrow will be the first Father's Day of my life that I will not be able to share with my father, directly at least. He died this morning in his sleep. Seems ironic that he would pass away the day before Father's Day.

Like most of us, my father was an enigma and flawed in many ways. Growing up during the Great Depression, he worked his way from a blue collar background to become the first person in his family to earn not only a college degree but a PhD. in child psychology. Yet, despite his education, his parenting techniques followed more closely to his blue collar roots. (Nothing necessarily wrong with that.)

In many ways I feel my best characteristics were developed in the process of overcoming being my father's son. Somehow I was always determined to prove to him I could accomplish and overcome whatever challenge lay before me. I think this came from my father's message to me that I should always try harder. I can clearly remember playing basketball and hearing my father's voice above the crowd, "Hustle, Ross!" And I hustled, if for no other reason but to shut him up.

I learned that I could out perform others by trying a little harder that they would. So far it seems to have worked pretty well.

My primary sympathies turn towards my mother. Through a sometimes tumultuous marriage and six children, she remained loyal and true to my father in every way. Easily, his meeting and marrying the woman who became his wife and the mother of his children marks the most fortunate event in his life. I believe he realized in his later years how lucky he was. I certainly hope so.

One of my father's last acts was to pay for my oldest son to attend Bruce Pearl's basketball camp at the University of Tennessee this past week. My two youngest children and I camped near the Smokey's during the basketball camp. On Wednesday, my parents and we attended the awards ceremony at the basketball camp and then went to eat at Buddy's Barbeque.

Although he required a wheel chair, my father was in good spirits and seemed well. At the age of 83 anything can happen. A few months ago doctors said he had a blood clot that, if it got loose, would kill him. Maybe that's what happened. I am simply happy that just a couple of days before he died my children and I were able to hug my father and tell him we loved him. For all his flaws, he will be sadly missed.

Sorry to hear about your loss.
Thank you.
Sorry for your loss-
and thank you for sharing your thoughts, experiences, and reflections on your Dad-
obernai - I checked out your site. Lots of hilarity with a sometimes serious message. I love it.
Thanks! As a father of four, I find your site a breath of fresh air in a society that is rather feminized and mother-oriented when it comes to parenting.

I really liked your story about Tex- It is very unfortunate that the heros of today do not get the recognition they so deserve.
Many condolences. From what I've read here over the past months, he appears to have done a pretty good job with you and your brothers and sisters. We are all examples of our parents' legacies, and you reflect well on the man your father was.
So sorry for your loss.
Thank you all for your condolences.
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