Hackworth

Father’s Day memories to me are scarce. As the day approached last week, I thought a lot about my Dad. He died when I was 13 and worked almost every day of his life — except Sundays — so we never shared a lot of special times together.

The two most memorable days I recall were the time he taught me to ride a bike and the day he bought a new Ford truck and brought it home. It was the first and only new car we ever owned.

It seems he came home every day from his used furniture store and, after a meal, usually fell asleep in his lounge chair. I didn’t realize then that he was tired because his heart was failing him. It was a heart attack that took him from us while I was on a trip with my sister. I was not able to say goodbye.

I hope he knew how much I love and respected him. I know others did, too, because every Sunday after church he held court under a tree by the side entrance of the United Methodist Church and all sorts of people would congregate to talk with him.

I could never claim we were poor, although money was always tight growing up in West Virginia. But it didn’t keep Dad from giving me an allowance every week (I think it was $1, maybe $2). I saved that money and at one time had a bank account of more than $300 when I was in the seventh grade. My wife tells me she’s not surprised because I am a skinflint today.

That wasn’t the only time Dad made me a little richer. Every night when he came home, he would empty the change from his pockets. I would go through it looking for rare coins. I had quite a collection at one time.

And, before Dad owned his own used furniture store, he worked for a large new and used furniture store as a salesman. Every few months, he would get a bonus, and the owner paid it in silver dollars. While he never got more than four or five at a time, he always gave me one.

I kept those silver dollars for years and years. I hate to admit that when I was a single dad, I had to cash all but two of them in. In a way, it felt like Dad was still taking care of me.

I hope you all cherish the time you have with your father now. And, if he is no longer around, embrace the memories you have.

I wouldn’t trade the short time I had with my Dad for a longer time with anyone else. I hope I told him how much I loved him. Young kids sometimes don’t make it a priority, and I can’t recall repeating those words. So I’ll say it now. I love you, Dad.

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