Dad wasn't perfect...no one is, but he worked from dawn to dusk to provide for his wife and children. He had very few luxuries in his life but I never once heard him complain. His only vice was smoking hand-rolled cigarettes. He carried a pouch of tobacco in his shirt pocket along with rolling papers. He smoked about seven cigarettes a day. The tobacco back when I was a child cost .25 and that is all he ever took out of his paycheck for himself.
Dad never drank, very seldom ever said a curse word and besides working in a coal yard, shoveling coal off of box cars into the bins and then into the back of a truck when customers ordered, he grew a huge garden every year. I don't remember Dad ever really having a day off where there wasn't something he had to do.
He brought his three children up to be responsible, to treat everyone equally, to be honest, kind and to have a good word ethic. He taught us to help others and not expect anything in return. He taught us many other things as well, but these laid a good foundation for our lives.
We lost Dad in 1981, at the young age of 65. We were blessed to have had him that long. Dad had rheumatic fever when he was five. The doctors told him mother he would never live to see adulthood, but he did. He joined the army in 1940 instead of waiting for conscription. He never saw active duty overseas because he was injured in a fall in the obstacle course. I think that bothered him his entire life because he wanted to fight for his country's freedom.
Dad and I didn't always get along. We were too much alike. We both had a bit of an Irish temper and were stubborn. It wasn't until I had my daughter that I understood why he was so strict with his children. I'm glad no more years were wasted. Near the end of his life we had a very close relationship.
Happy Birthday, Dad. Wish I could sit across from you and enjoy a cup of tea with you once again. One day we will be able to do that.