Posted by Soldier #2 on May 16, 1999 at 07:31:56:
To my Mohican Family ...
In 1994, as I drove to and from Charlotte every night, I found myself wondering, hoping and wishing for another chance with my father. God heard my prayers and gave me that second chance. In the five years of since that time, I have been trying make that precious time worth while. Last week, I found myself thinking and praying for the same chance,.... knowing in my heart that the time was up. I have prepared myself up to the point that I would be without my father. After that, I was not prepared.
My father grew up the son of a large farming family. Hardship was an everyday part of life. The stories, many might I say, were always told in a welcoming, familiar form..... of climbing trees, falling in the river, long hard days working at the saw mill..... always be remembered.
Joining the Marines at age 17, he like many others, was there to support our country. With courage and the hope to continue our freedom. Fond memories were always told to me. Always wanting to spill forth the experiences.... Hours of training at Cherry Point, the flights in the TBF in the New Hebertis islands and the battle at Bougainville and the music of the time...... Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman.
After the war, my father married in 1947 and began a new life in a small trailer or a run down house where you could see light through the floor boards...... The Studibakers, the Oldsmobiles.... you would have thought my father worked in Detroit. Every model made and its year were impress in his mind only to recall them as they drove by. Picnics in the mountains, camping in the smokies, the wild times with buddies, the many years of work in the tires store were all told to me. Life was good.
After 19 years of marriage, God gave me to my parents. I look through the pictures and see a proud father. I hear stories of how my father held me in one arm...my head being held in his large hands and my feet only to reach his elbow. Life was better.
So many memories, in such a little time...... of picnics, family gatherings, travels to mountains, taking me to work with him.. Playing the oldies while my father and I played the air trombone. Introducing me so many things and people. He must have known every person in Burke County. Their names, their parents names, hearing him say "Weíre kin to them. 3rd cousins, twice removed."
He worked many long hours. Holding down two jobs and coming home after 11:30. He always checked on me before going to bed himself. He finally retired from Broughton Hospital, gave up working with tires store, I become to really know my father. I was never more proud than when I was able to give my father the opportunity to work with me. I can see many decks, houses, additions and know that he was there with me. My best friend. Life was at itís best.... or so I thought.
He watched me become a man, teaching me to drive, my first job, High School graduation, college, then the start of my own family. The first time I seen him cry, was at my wedding, as my best man.
On January 13, 1990, we were blessed and my father became a grandfather. My first born son to carry on my fatherís name. On November 25, 1996, the first girl was born and immediately became Paw Pawís girl. Again on March 15, 1998, another grandson was born to carry on my fathers middle name. Life was at itís peak. More than anything, I am happy to have given him the chance to care for the children. A bond was made like no other between a grandfather his grandchildren. "I am not able to care for babies" I would hear him say. Only to have him insist that he keep them and miss them when they were not there. He taught them life was about love.
My father was a quiet man.... a sometimes inpatient man....... stubborn. But with reason, for he was a caring man, a loving man, who always thought of others before himself. His family was what was important to him. He asked for little and gave his all. We will miss him in body but know that he is with us all. His spirit will never die but will live forever in the hearts that he has touched. It is my job now to care for the family. The biggest of all jobs. This I must learn on my own. You have taught me well and I will make you proud.
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