Thursday, December 29, 2011

Old Toad

I mentioned in a comment yesterday that Boxing Day would have been my father's 88th birthday. On his last birthday he was diagnosed with the cancer that killed him 4 days later. He was a stoic SOB.

I was almost 2 when we met. Having served in the Navy during WW2 he joined the Marine reserve battalion his friends belonged to. He then talked his wife's brothers into signing up too. Using the lure of free work clothes and beer money as an inducement is how his BIL's teased his enlistment speech. They followed him wherever he wanted to go. Once the menfolk signed up, their unit was activated during summer camp and shipped out to Korea. I was born while he was away. After being wounded several times the Marines made him a Drill Instructor, his smokey bear hat my oldest memory of him.

He was a dude who never met a stranger, always drove convertibles. 6'3" skinny as a rail. Forsook a pro pitching contract to get married. He worked for one company his entire adult life. I never, ever saw him wear anything other than a suit to work, with a hat until the late 60's, and no one ever saw him in shorts.

I was hardly my father's son. We had little in common, I hated sports, he loved them, we disagreed about the major things, which it turned out he was right and I was wrong. I loved him and he loved me and that was enough for each of us. Twenty five years gone hardly a day goes by when I don't think to call him about something, then remember I can't. I miss him, and likely always will.



Bob said...

Loved the toothless ADG image. Tho my wit and intellect not as superior, I'd like to be in the home with both of you!

Funny about the changes in the way we think of our fathers. I have missed mine all this holiday he has been gone almost 1/2 century.

YONKS said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Pa!
Thanks for sharing your memories.

ADG said...

I know how it drains one to write about their dad. But I loved reading this.

ADG...wid one less toof and a lot of narcotics.

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

A touching and pure tribute. Well said, Friend.

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

A touching and pure tribute. Well said, Friend.

Silk Regimental said...

I enjoyed this very much. It inspires me to post a similar tribute.

What's the address of this old folks home - have 911 on the ready!

James said...

Very well done. As per Mr. Twain, it is amazing how much wiser our fathers become as we grow older.

Anonymous said...

Look how much you're like your Dad, you've already pied pipered the folks ahead of me in line to follow you to the home! If it were a co-ed home, I'd pull my rocker up alongside yours and tell you how much our dads sound soooo alike:

*stoic SOB
*WWII navy
*baby boy at home after 2 years away
*always a suit to work
*handsome man
*no shorts ever
*constant cigarette in hand [daddy smoked Chesterfields]
*loved sports
*declined pro baseball offer [had to work to support parents during depression]
*worked for same company entire adult life

Thank you for this introduction to "Old Toad" -- quite moving.


Toad said...

Flo, I never saw him smoke anything other than the short Chesterfield's.

Might be the same guy, eh?

Shelley said...

On one hand, I'm sorry to hear you still miss your Dad after 25 years. On the other, I still miss my Mom after 21 years. So it's not just me...

Anonymous said...

"I never saw him smoke anything other than the short Chesterfield's."

Daddy could blow through 3 packs of Chesterfields a day easy. Born in 1908, he died at age 89 having defied medical science so many times we stopped counting. Oh here's one: he ate a big bowl of fully-fatted vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate sauce each and every night while maintaining his college weight throughout his life.


P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

I find the loss of my father after 7 years ago still acute, not to mention shocking in terms of the years that have past. For me, he is ever present looking over my shoulder-advising and chiding at opportune moments-something he did best. My mother lost her father when she was 11 yrs old-her memories and loss are vivid to this day-at age 81. Memory can be gift if we can learn to accept its accompanying hurts. pgt

LPC said...

Many hugs to you Toad. My own papa turned 81 a week ago or so. I love him more every year.