Two years ago, today, was my Dad’s last birthday; 84. Seems like yesterday. It’s funny, in the past when I read someone’s writing about one of their parents passing, I’ve always feel for them, but even more, now, because I HAVE experienced the passing of my Dad, and he pops into my thoughts so many times in the most inopportune occasions. It’s amazing. For those that didn’t know my Dad, and if you’re interested, I’m writing about some of the memories that are still fresh in my mind, from my younger years until present.
I’m sure that there are so many people out there, where their Dad, or actually their parents, literally saved their lives, in one, (or more) situations. I can’t even start to count all of them; in physical, mental, and spiritual ways. My family was very Catholic, and my parents spent some time explaining to us kids, (brother and sister),what and how they believed in the Trinity, and how their beliefs were in our reality. Little did know, (about that reality?), how that would be in my life, and I didn’t even know what that meant back then! My pop was always there, how he rescued me in some situations, I couldn’t even start to put it together. I’ll tell a story that wasn’t in my mind, until a few seconds ago; again, dad just came into my mind.
I grew up in a smaller town, Peoria, Illinois. I don’t know the population, especially back then, but every neighborhood had families that knew each other, and it wasn’t unusual for my dad to send me on a little errand, for whatever he needed, even at five years of age. There was a little market about a block away, “Jack’s Market”. At that time, dad smoked Camels, and wanted me to run up to Jack’s, and pick some up some smokes; back then, the neighborhood was full of kids my age, and my brothers age, and all of us were running errands, up to Jack’s Market! So I went into the store, got the smokes, and instead of crossing at the corner, like I told to do, to go home, I ran between two parked cars on the side of the road, without looking, and got hit by a car. Basically, my big ol’ nose got hooked on the handle of the front door, and it carried me 10-20 yards. Jack came running out of his market, and I guess he called my folks and described this, and they came up immediately. One piece of info; before my mom went running out, she was cooking, and left all of the burners on. Boy, we were lucky at home, too! Dad got there first, and he cradled me to his chest, (as you might suggest, blood was everywhere), and the police got there before the ambulance, and since I had lost so much blood, we went to the hospital in the squad car. Dad kept blaming himself for what I DIDN’T do, follow their instructions on crossing the street, and it really wasn’t a busy street. Long story short, I was in the hospital for about 3-4 weeks, had a little plastic surgery around my nose, and I asked my parents why did they have to come to the hospital every day? My thinking was, “didn’t they have two other kids to worry about, go home!” As most of you know, sometimes I don’t think about the most correct thought pattern! Dad, though, held me so tight on the way to the hospital, I could hear his heart beat, and I just knew I was safe; nothing could break that armor, that was my first recollection of knowing that God was with me. It’s funny, I remember EVERYTHING about that event, except the actual body/car moment.
Dad was a policeman, so as we all know, we weren’t wealthy, and he always had a second, or sometimes a third job. Whatever it took, we had food, a roof over our heads, and FUN, lots of fun! With all the jobs that he worked, somehow, and I certainly didn’t know how he did this, he always coached my basketball, and baseball teams. How does that happen??? As I said, he was our baseball coach, and ironically, our team was sponsored by the Peoria Police! In all of my Little League years, dad went to the police benevolent meetings, and asked the department to sponsor the cost to take the whole team up to Chicago, and see a Cubs game, all expenses paid! How cool is that?? We stopped at a restaurant called White Fence Farms; family style chicken, and whatever else we wanted. When we got to the ballpark, all the soda, hot dogs, peanuts, anything we wanted, we got. We got this, because Dad wanted us experience a major league baseball game, each season. Don’t know how proposal worked from the police department, but us kids felt so special due to my dad’s efforts.
So, so many events like this happened in my life with my dad, but these are just two that just “popped” into my head. Speaking of my head, when I had my first tumor, it obviously was a shock to my parents when my brother had to tell them about my condition, (I was in the hospital). At that time (with my tumor), I really didn’t have a memory about how all of my family found out, but later on I found out that my brother worked up a plan to”soften” the story, (that will be another story!). They came down immediately, and throughout my life, when my dad was in a stressful situation, he really didn’t have much words, but that was when I found out that his presence, and spirit, carried me. I do remember, though, when I was at the hospital, that he sat at the side of my bed, and just held my arm; no words, just belief in what God can, and did do, and it came to me through his connection with no words; I’ll never forget that.
Now I understand those words, when I read other people’s writings, when they said that they think of that parent every day. I do, multitude times of my Dad, everyday. It made me think of how all of these “little dots”, (events, as I call them), have connected my life, and all of those people that have fit into my world. If A didn’t happen the way it did, then we couldn’t have gotten to B, and onto C….etc. That was my way of learning that my plans for my future didn’t take precedent over God’s plan, it just became;h and as He said, I AM. That’s all I needed, to acknowledge His way over mine. It wasn’t just me who recovered from surgeries; Him, my family, and my belief led to me from my dad, family, and a lot of LOVE!
Remember your moments in your life, that changed your life, and accept them, because your are where you are supposed to be. I DO miss my dad, and I DO think about him every day; Happy Birthday Dad, 3/08/33.