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.
at 2:20 PM