Saturday, June 17, 2006
Father's Day Without Father
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.
and thank you for sharing your thoughts, experiences, and reflections on your Dad-
I really liked your story about Tex- It is very unfortunate that the heros of today do not get the recognition they so deserve.
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