Today’s blogpost is blogpost number 100 – having blogged daily since launching the site on February 26, 2015. It is being shared today so that it is included in my upcoming book which is going to contain the first 100 blog posts of AnchoredScraps.com. Ideally I would have posted it on Father’s Day but wanted to make sure this got included in the book, to give us bookends – the first and one-hundredth post on my Dad.
When my Dad passed away in January, my sleep later that night was awakened with being inspired to get out my laptop and start remembering stories about him which went into writing his eulogy. There have been several dear family & friends who have asked for a copy and so in today’s blogpost I am sharing what I read at his Memorial Service.
About the photo today (upper left): Me in my High School graduation cap & gown with my Dad from my scrapbook which I took a digital photo of today. The print still has that distinctive Kodak color print kodachrome look to it. I still love this photo more than my college graduation one with Dad, probably because of having shorter hair in that photo.
Thank you for continuing to be on this journey with me. Please join me tomorrow when we begin the next 100 blogposts.
We are here today celebrating Dad’s life
My Dad passed away last week at the age of 85. He had quite a run and made a difference in my life. One of the first songs I recall Dad singing to me as a very small child was him playing the guitar and singing ‘Froggy went a courtin’, will you marry me, uh-huh’, and it goes on with many verses. While Dad would sing we would watch him raise his eyebrows for added affect and change his voice falsetto when singing the part of Miss Mouse. I have since discovered that the song has been recorded by many including Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen.
Dad’s actions spoke louder than any words
He was the first in his family to get not only his bachelor’s college degree but also his doctorate.
Dad pursued knowledge for knowledge’s sake. He was truly fascinated and curious and got excited about how something worked and why. He loved electronics, model airplanes, flying, amateur radio, shooting, computers, and fly fishing. He would stress the importance of having a hobby.
I’m delighted that Dad got remarried and that she has been in all of our lives. This happened when Dad was in graduate school with six children as a single parent and working three jobs. He was nearing completion of the program. They married when I was in High School and they have been true soul mates, taking flying lessons together, both having a love of reading, and a shared great sense of humor.
He influenced me in several ways
He insisted I take typing in high school which has proven to be a very helpful tool. It came in handy after college when I changed fields and he loaned me an IBM PCjr and I taught myself cpm. I discovered I had a capacity to quickly figure software packages and this has served me well since then.
He taught me not to take life seriously
I remember in high school for a week, one week we had a time when every night we would have a chat after dinner for at least an hour and we talked about life and the future and what was out there. On the fourth night of this same routine, my father got up from the kitchen table and he came back carrying a stack of National Geographic magazines and he told me I needed to go off and read them and then come back and we’d have something new to talk about. He said I was to take the Capital L out of Life and just look at it as life.
He taught me to search for the answers myself
and to not blindly follow and that is part of the reason it inspired me to read the Bible from cover to cover more than once.
He stressed the importance of preserving our memories
Although Dad had traveled to many countries in his lifetime he had very few photos – When I was a junior in high school the basement where all of his 35 mm color slides were stored flooded and he lost all of his photos. This instilled in me the importance of preserving our memories and one of the reasons I love scrapbooking. About 10 years ago he began dictating his memoirs on cassette tapes which I transcribed and he started it out with him singing “So Long It’s been Good to Know You” by Woody Guthrie.
Memories of Dad include
Well he is the first man that I ever received flowers from – it was for my 11th birthday and the florist delivered flowers and they had been ‘wired’ to me from Dad. For some of our younger members, at the time there were no online apps to order flowers, you actually drove yourself over or you called the florist and they ‘wired’ them to another florist. Well I still have in my scrapbook the gift enclosure card that came with that bouquet of flowers and I really thought at the time that somehow that was my Dad’s signature on that notecard, never figured it out until later.
I remember him taking me to a Daddy-daughter dance in junior high and we drove almost two hours to get to the event.
He taught me to drive in my old 1965 Rambler not only did it have a clutch, it was a standard column clutch, you know – shift, and some of you are nodding your heads you remember these. Well when he was teaching me to drive before I got my license we were going through a four-way intersection and the car stalled. And if you remember with this you have to change the clutch. My Dad was remarkably calm, very calm during the whole situation, so we both survived.
And lastly my Dad could have a colorful vocabulary
Having been an old sailor serving in the Korean War and in the Navy he could use an expletive with relish. He came in one day when I was junior high and he overheard me cussing at a sibling. He came and said, no gosh darn it, if you are going to cuss, you need to do it right, it’s actually and he proceeded to say $1$#* only it wasn’t a dollar sign 1$*#sign that he said!!
Although he was not one to attend Church he encouraged our attendance. I do recall one Sunday morning for some reason we ALL decided to go to Church WITH Dad – and I do have to say this was before he got remarried. Okay, so there he is – we are in Sunday school together and a younger brother of ours out of nowhere started asking ‘what about Moses and all of those animals getting onto the arc?’ – To which my Dad jumped in there not thinking, without even thinking, he said “no gosh darn it (wording has been cleaned up here), he said, ‘no gosh darn that was Noah!” and then he sheepishly looked around the room and there is the Sunday school instructor biting a huge smile on his lips. I mean this was one of the classics.
When the movie “A Christmas Story” came out in 1983 (you know that movie, “Kid you’ll shoot your eye out”! ) – I saw the movie with the two of them – I remember Dad laughing out so loud at Darren McGavin’s ‘dad’, the Old Man Parker character, who made battle with the furnace in the basement and his colorful language.
Dad stressed to me over the years that it actually takes more control and a better vocabulary to express displeasure at something keeping ones wits about them than to take the easy way out and swear. That it reflected one’s self-control.
I know that when Dad arrived at the pearly gates last week that God said, “Welcome Tom! I’ve been waiting for you. (At this I raised both my arms at the podium). I envision Dad walking off with God and can overhear God leaning in close to my Dad and saying “Tom, Did you hear the one about…” and they walk off and over their heads the caption reads: “life lived well here”.