This is one of my favorite pics of Dad that resurfaced for the funeral.
Now that I’ve managed to take a deep breath, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who took some time out of their busy lives to offer support, and comfort, and to lend a helping hand to me, my sisters and brother, and to Lana while we dealt with our unexpected loss. It was especially endearing to note that the hundreds that came to calling hours all remembered my dad in pretty much the same vein...he was a character. He made a lot of people laugh.
I think that no matter how old or young you are, you are never quite prepared for the toll the death of a parent will have on you both physically and emotionally. We all deal with that on a personal level and, for me, I chose to focus on memories of my dad mostly from when I was a little girl because, after all, he was my daddy. And he made sure to teach me a bunch of practical things that all little girls should know, like:
~How to properly hold your stick when playing pool and how to avoid scratching.
~How to bait your hook so the bait doesn’t fly off when you cast. When to use “minnies”, and when to use worms, and how to gently take the hook out to release your fish without harm if they weren’t intended for dinner.
~The proper positioning of your fingers in your mouth in order to produce a LOUD whistle that will get people’s attention.
~The proper positioning of your fingers on the bow-string to allow your arrow to fly straight and true (and the difference when using a compound bow.)
~How to approach a dog that doesn’t know you.
~How to use a mitre box and which saws to use for different projects.
~The name of every tool in his toolbox (and standing by to assist him when he was working under the car. Dad: Hollie, hand me a 3/4 socket wrench.)
~How to load, unload, and clean his shotgun. (And explaining that a shotgun was the only gun a woman ever needed to protect herself at home. Dad: Just hold it at hip-level and pull the trigger.)
~How to change a flat tire.
How he bought me my first guitar when I was 10 years old and how pleased he was when I sat down and picked out Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line” by ear.
How he still had a tape for his reel-to-reel tape recorder of me singing “Ring of Fire” from when I was about two feet tall.
How he came to my house several years ago and showed me how to change the plugs and wires on my car.
How he got WAY too much pleasure teasing me and laughing about how hard it was for me to learn how to ride a bike. Every. Time. I saw him.
How his strong, baritone voice sounded belting out old country songs by Ferlin Husky, Faron Young, Hank Snow, Hank Williams (Senior), and Johnny Cash while he was getting ready for work in the mornings…
“I’ll fly away, oh glory, I’ll fly away
When I die, hallelujah by and by, I’ll fly away
Some bright morning when this life is over, I’ll fly away
To a land on God’s celestial shore, I’ll fly away…”
And so you have…
Rest in peace, Dad.