Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The picture up and to the right is my Dad holding my son, Dolan. He adored him. :-)
I apologize for the lack of focus on the photo to the left. It is my Mom and Dad - outside their retirement home just one month before my Dad died - He passed on October 22nd, 1984. The photos above are of our side and back yard views - Autumn is struggling to become vibrant with color - it is more subtle and demure - and yet still is inspiring and promising. I love cloudy Autumn days so much.
The week before my Dad died he was on a mission. It is as if he knew. On the Thursday before he died (he died on a Monday)....he and my Mom came to my house. Dolan, my son was just 7 months old. I remember my Dad saying to me - "Gimpy, (he nic-named me that when I broke my leg when I was eleven), anyway - he said - "Gimpy, if I keep hanging around here this kid is going to start calling me Daddy.". :-) This particular day he wanted to be sure that I knew how to drive my Mom to her sister's house about 30 miles away. He knew how important those visits were to my Mom and her sister. On the way back he was telling my Mom what to do should he have a heart attack while driving. On the Saturday he helped put the roof on the VFW hall of which he was a proud member. On the Sunday he helped his neighbor put together their entertainment center. He was happy to do it. On the Monday, he started his day with a hearty breakfast. Then they went to my sister's house to take care of their youngest son, Ethan - the two older boys, Josh and Clayton were in school. My Mom and Dad took Ethan to Josh's school for an event - and then returned home around 3:15. My Mom was downstairs coloring with Ethan, and my Dad went out on my sister's back deck. Josh headed off to dance lessons and for some reason went out the front door rather than the back deck - they never used the front door. And the Mom that was picking him up, for some reason, backed in to the driveway rather than pulling in - had she pulled in she would have seen my Dad. Clayton came home with his dirt bike which he always put under the back deck - but this day he did not do that and he too came in the front door. My Mom decided to color another picture with Ethan - and then said to Clayton - "go check on your Grand Pa, I hope he isn't raking leaves"!! Clayton did go check and my Dad was laying out on the deck - Clayton yelled for my Mom to call 911 - but it was already too late. My Mom screamed so loud that neighbors came running - and so that is what happened 25 years ago this October 22nd - it was 4:00.
My Dad was a vibrant, proud, hard working man. A real man's man' as the saying goes. People who know me know his fun sayings and antics because I say them and do them (most of them) often. :-) I learned how a man should treat a woman by watching how my parents loved and cared for one another. I learned what it meant to be a real friend, a good son, a loving brother, Dad and neighbor by watching my Dad. I can still recall when the neighbor across the streets house caught on fire and my Dad wanted to go in to rescue her and her dog - the other neighbors stopped him - she and her dog both died that night. My Dad never got over that. I remember when our next door neighbor left his wife and three children. The son was devastated - my Dad invited him over and did what he could to be there for him. My Dad built us a bomb shelter~!! Underground!!!! My Dad's motto was that every day he should make someone laugh. :-) And to always pick up hitch-hikers and take them as far a possible to get to their destination. We crossed state lines many a Sunday doing just that!!!
Every year me, my Mom and sister go to Chatfield Hollow state park and pick greens to make head baskets for my Dad's grave, Clayton's grave, (my sister's oldest son), and now for Kelly's grave - Clayton's Dad who just died, as most of you know, this past January. Chatfield Hollow, in Killingworth, CT is where my Dad worked as a member of the Connecticut Corp of Engineers as a young man - age 17. He and his crew built ALL the bridges in Chatfield Hollow. Every year we go we are reminded of his talents as we stand in awe of the detail of the beautiful bridges in the Park that he helped build. Also, Killingworth is where their retirement home was. :-) He came full circle.
And so this October I honor you Dad for all that you are - the legacy you left behind from bridges to values to love and to ethics to faith and to marriage and mankind. For the lives you saved in WWll and the lives you touched every day of your life. I have learned so much from you and I love you.
rest in Peace Dad.......
Posted by Gail at 9:42 AM