Monday, July 1, 2013

My Dad, My Hero!

My Dad said it is okay if I write a blog post about him, but he said I must say that he is the "Old maid's heart-throb!" Okay, Dad, I said it! Now the rest of what I write is up to me! But, now, how do I describe my Dad? He has been such a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend; it's very difficult to put it all into words.

Dad grew up on a farm in a very rural area of West Virginia, in a county that even in 2013 does not contain a traffic light! In his family, like many others at that time, they grew corn, shucked it, took it to the mill, and had it ground into cornmeal so my Grandma could make cornbread. Often dinner was cornbread and "sweet milk" (from their cow), and he still enjoys this meal today, but now the cornmeal and milk are bought from the store. By doing chores at home and at school, he learned to work hard to achieve success.  

Dad's dream when he was growing up was to someday have a nice car and a motorcycle. After he was discharged from the Air Force, he achieved that dream, along with marrying my Mom. He still has both a nice car and motorcycle. He still rides his motorcycle, a Harley Davidson, his prized possession - although not as often as he once did. When my Mom was living, Dad has often said said that if someone offered, he would put a price on anything he had, except his Harley and my Mom!

Dad has always been somewhat of an inventor. He has made a "black walnut sheller" among other things. He is also creative about making things. When we were small, he cut logs, removed the bark, and built us a swing set. From logs, he also very cleverly made us tall stilts. We were the envy of the neighbors! From wood he also made us slide whistles and sling shots. When we were given baby Flying Squirrels, of course, he built a cage including a small tree. He even built go-carts for my brothers and powered them with motors from washing machines!

Dad never hires a repairmen, because he has always been a "Handy-man".  If he has a leaky pipe or faucet, the drain is "stopped up", or there's a problem with the roof, he repairs it himself. He has installed windows, and even did a complete remodel of their kitchen. 

Similarly, my Dad is very handy in the kitchen, and he loves to cook for his family when any of us come to visit. He has quickly learned to be quite a chef! One of his favorite meals is Pinto Beans, Cornbread, and Fried Potatoes. During the summer, he cooks "New Potatoes" browned in butter and "Fresh" Green Beans from his garden. He sometimes even delivers his special dishes and meals to family and friends! The list of specialties such as Fried Chicken, Roast, etc., goes on and on! He bakes delicious cakes and brownies, and he even "unknowingly" made desserts for his "surprise" 80th birthday party several years ago! Some say he even makes the best popcorn ever, and I agree! Dad's popcorn is always delicious to eat on our long return trips when we visit.

Dad is very active, no matter the season. In the cold winter, he skillfully attaches a snow-blade to his 4-wheeler and clears his driveway and surrounding areas. Not only does Dad mow his own grass in the summer, he also mows the neighbor's and sometimes the cemetery. Dad planted a garden again this year, and he thinks the sturdy fence that he built around it will be tall enough to keep the numerous deer out.  We will see!  He also still drives his motor-home for an occasional camping trip, and he pulls the boat along. He even went water-skiing a few years ago, just to prove that he still could!!

Dad loves to watch the wildlife in the sparsely populated hollow where he lives.  

View from Dad's porch

He built a special "squirrel feeder" on a tree near his porch and has several squirrels that visit regularly. Recently, a bear visited, resulting in needed repairs to the feeder.  

Squirrels and turkeys having a feast

Four gobbler turkeys come often for corn. He almost has those turkeys eating out of his hand!

It''s Dinner Time!!

Yes, Dad will visit the local Seniors' Center occasionally, but he makes it very clear that he only attends when the Seniors are having a fundraiser dinner and/or dance. Our family jokingly says that he would probably rather drive the Seniors' bus!

Dad is always willing to help others. Whether he is visiting someone at home or the hospital, taking someone to an appointment, calling to wish someone "Happy Birthday", driving a parade float for a grandchild, or just checking on someone, he's definitely the best! 

Dad at his birthday party last year

I once asked Dad, "If you could live your life over again, what would you change?" His answer was, "I wouldn't change a thing". I wouldn't change a thing, either. I love you, Dad! I am so glad that you are my Dad! Thanks for everything you have done for me. Thanks for making me laugh! Thanks for being my inspiration.

My Dad and his Harley Davidson