Sunday, January 18

I remember how hard my Dad worked. He would leave home early in the morning to be at work by 7am. When I was very young, he drove coal truck. His duties were to unload the coal from the box cars and put it into the coal bins in the yard of the establishment where he worked. Then it was shoveled by hand onto the trucks to be delivered to the customers.

Dad often didn't get home until after dark during the short days of winter. Around 6pm (sometimes later) we would see our dog, Jack, who was part German shepherd, part border collie, perk up his ears and go to the door. That meant that Dad would be home within the next 10 minutes. I'm not sure how Jack knew, but suspect he could hear Dad's truck long before we could.

Before driving coal truck, Dad owned his own gravel business. However, Dad was too soft-hearted to be a business man. He extended too much credit and eventually had to close the business. Years later, when he passed away in 1981, we found bill books with large amounts of money that had never been paid for the gravel he had delivered. This job also required shoveling the gravel off the truck, though the gravel was loaded by a conveyer belt at the quarry.

Way back, before I was born, Dad worked for the county digging ditches for $1.00 a day. That was hard work and he shoveled from dawn to dusk,. Those were 10 hour days and there were no fancy digging machines to do that job back then. It was all manual labor.

Dad loved his cup of tea and his cigarette. Dad didn't smoke much, but the tobacco and papers for his "rollies" were always in his shirt pocket. Dad never smoked as he worked, but enjoyed a cigarette and a cup of tea on his breaks. He quit smoking when he had his first heart attack.

In 1965, Dad was working delivering furnace oil. One icy winter day, he slipped on a driveway that was on a hill, feel flat on his back and slid down the driveway under the oil truck. He was taken to the hospital and remained there in traction for seven months. Mom, who had never worked out of the home, got a job at Woolco. My older brother and I quit school (I was 15) and went to work in factories to help supplement the family income.

Dad was never able to return to work, but did keep the house sparkling clean while Mom worked outside of the home. His health deteriorated over the years. He had a heart condition and in his youth he'd had rheumatic fever. The doctor had told his mother that he never would live to grow up.

We were lucky to have Dad with us so many years. Dad and I weren't close when I was young and fought like cats and dogs through my teens. But in adulthood I realized that many of the things he had done was out of his love for me. The years before he died we were very close.

The day my father died was August 26, 1981. I had taken Michelle, my daughter, and Melissa, my niece, to spend the day at Mom's and Dad's. In a few days they would be going back to school and this would be the last day of the summer when they could spend the entire day in the country enjoying all the things that the season brings. On that day, I noticed that Dad was wheezing terribly. I asked him if he was alright and he said that the wheezing was caused by the very high humidity.

We left my parent's place at 8 pm that night. As I went out the door, something told me to go back and kiss Dad goodbye and though he and I never displayed our affection much, I went back, kissed his cheek and told him I loved him. He replied, "I love you too, Daughter."

That was the last words my father ever said to me. At 11pm, Mom called and said that Dad had passed quickly. He had suffered no pain.

I am so very thankful that Dad and I healed our relationship and forgave past trangressions on both our parts. My last memory of my father is one of the best of my entire life. If you have parents who are living, be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them . They can be gone in the blink of an eye. We have only one set of parents and no matter what has happened in the past, when they are gone, you will miss them.

This is just one small memory of my father. There are so many other great ones and one day I will tell you more about him.

Have a wonderful week. ~Blessings, Mary~

If you would like to join the I Remember When meme, please visit Speaking from the Heart. It's a lot of fun stepping back in time through our memories.


  1. I love this post - I need to take it to heart for sure since both of my parents are still with us and live just down a half mile away. Thanks for the good advice!

  2. mary...this post is an absolutely lovely tribute to your dad. Your love for him shines through your words. As I read it, I missed my dad all the more.
    Thank you for this wonderful post!

    ~AirmanMom returning to her blog...

  3. This is lovely....what a fond memory and a quick realization of how our father's worked to keep us a family!! Worked hard.

  4. This is such a wonderful post. My Dad worked hard also. My parents are both alive, Dad is 80 and Mom 75. I have always gotten along with them and I cherish every moment. They live 30 miles away. for the past 5 years I commuted to my hometown to work. It was great as I usually went to their house for lunch everyday. I work now for the same company, but not in my hometown anymore. I miss not seeing them daily and I think they really miss me coming there. It gave them something to look forward to. My mom is a great cook, and a wonderful baker. No wonder I never lost any weight. I know how quickly people can leave you, as I lost my husband in September.

  5. Blogs are great places to archive some of our memories. And others can enjoy them too.

  6. Your dad sounds like he was an awesome fellow, I sometimes wonder if we know what hard work is now, my dad use to get up and go to work in the city early in the morning too and quite often he wasn't home until we were ready for bed.

  7. I know the feeling of mending fences between a parent and a chiled.Dad and I did not get along well,but Father's day 1984.I did mend the fence that kept us apart.I am glad that I did that was the last Father's Day we had together.

  8. Wonderful memories, Mary. A beautiful tribute your father.

    My dad was born on August 26th 1914. What a coincidence.
    He died in July 1998, just 2 months after my mother.
    I was never close to my dad, until after he died.
    Then the authoritarian, grumpy old personality was gone and in its place I felt only Love.

    I dream of my dad and in those dreams he is surrounded by light. He is happy and laughing.

  9. Enjoyed this post and getting to know your dad. Sounds a lot like mine. He worked hard to provide for his seven children. In his last years, we were able to say I love you to each other and hug occasionly. My dad also stopped smoking after his first heart attack and his open heart surgery. He was already retired when this happened. He died in 1993 and I still miss him.

  10. I've enjoyed reading your memory posts. My Mom is gone but I'm lucky to still have my Dad around.

  11. Mary, this is just beautiful. I lost my mom a little over a year ago and I am SO GRATEFUL for the last bit of time I had with her.

  12. Mary,

    Praise God, you and your dad mended your relationship, before he passed away.

    Thank you for participating in Remember When....

  13. I just love your blog page with all the gorgeous valentines and all. You are so blessed to have a friend to do something so beautiful for you.

    Your memory of your father is precious. I enjoyed reading as it brought back sme special memories of my own father and brought tears to my eyes.

  14. thank you for sharing this story and what a blessing daughter - you were--
    yes, it is so important to listen to those soft nudging of the Holy Spirit- warm hugs from Meme wh was blessed with a hard working daddy who went home - 1986 - this story reminded me of good daddy memories

  15. Mary,

    A beautiful post remembering your father. Sometimes, when we are growing up, we just can't comprehend the sacrifice and hard work and strict discipline - it's only after we mature that we can really appreciate fathers.

    The Valentine's background by Anni looks great!

  16. I have in tears in my eyes...this was such a beautiful tribute to your father, Mary.
    And I could dad and I had several years of a love\hate relationship...but we were able to come full circle and have a tender, loving relationship in the end.
    Thank you for sharing this, Mary...

    On a different note, I would love it if you're able to contribute anything to the home school open house tomorrow! But only if you have time...if not, you can another time!

  17. Ohhh My Dear Mary I love this. It is can of like the relationship I had with my Dad....Blessings...m...

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  19. Mary
    First the comfort is so pretty and I bet the material feels great. I am so glad you mended your relationship and have good memories of your Dad. As for me I wish I had known the man that everyone else seemed to know. It is not just me but my siblings feel the same. However, he was our mess and we do miss him now that he is gone. Peace

  20. Thank you so much for sharing your memories of your father. I agree totally with you. Cherish your parents while you can, because they can be gone so quickly. Both of my parents are gone and I still miss them terribly.

  21. Beautiful story of your dad. Thank you for sharing and for reminding us how important it is to let those we love know it whenever possible.

  22. Wonderful writing of your memories, Mary.

    And your advice to love and honor your parents if they're still living - wonderful advice and spot on. Even if you don't have the best relationship with your parent(s) you really don't know how much you'll miss them until they're gone. Mine have been gone for 4 years and I miss them every day.

    Have a great new week, my friend.

    Love and hugs,


  23. It's hard to believe the hard manual labour that people had to do back then...makes you wonder how they survived at all. I loved learning more about your dad and how heartwarming to know that you and he were able to get closer to each other before he died. As you know, I lost my dad when he was only 48 years old...there are so many things I wish I would have told him. xoxo