Tag Archives: Dad

#SOL17: Memories


13 years ago this weekend . . . 

“Are you driving?” Sherry asked.

What an odd question?

“No, I just pulled into Hy-Vee to get some groceries.  What’s up?”

And I knew.

“Please, don’t tell me!” 

I just wanted to hang up the phone.  

I didn’t want to hear it.  

NO, NO, NO!

And the tears streamed down my face as I learned that Dad had passed.

Peacefully

Without undue suffering

Yet

Suddenly and Unexpectedly!

To this day, I remember where I was parked at North Hy-Vee that afternoon.

It’s a section I have never parked in since.  

Not tempting fate.

The sun was shining.

It was a relatively nice day.

Done with work.

Planning to buy a few groceries before heading home.

Immediately shifting gears . . .

A dying phone battery.

Phone calls to make.

Returning to work.

Using a land line and a cell phone.

Calling.

Leaving messages.

Calling

Asking questions.

Calling

Asking, “Are you driving?” when using cell numbers.

Calling

Barely able to say the words.

Numb. Shocked. Confirmed.  

Yet short on details!

Making lists of more phone calls.

Already exhausted.

Where do I need to be?  When?  What’s next?

I’m in limbo.

Half-way between my family farm home and my family home.

Is someone with Mom?

Which direction to go?

Plans to make.  Plans A, B, and C.

Not ready?

No longer an option

A hurricane is headed for Southern Florida

So Sherry is not yet on her way.

I want to return to the childhood days,

My treasured days,

As the best gift to my dad on Father’s Day!

The easy days of childhood.




Fast Forward to the present . . .

2017:  What a year!  And it’s not over . . .

If I could turn back the hands of time?

I would definitely rewrite March and April. Those days when I wanted to huddle under the quilt and cry for all the changes in our family.  Too many losses, way too fast!

I often come back to this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Screenshot 2017-09-04 at 7.43.30 AM.png

Moving forward may seem to be at a turtle’s pace but forward motion is ALL that is required.  Some days it’s not necessary to measure the miniscule change.

Does it ever get easier?

Saturday I stopped by the family cemetary (after a neighbor’s funeral – age 91).  A few minutes of conversation with Joey, Grandma, brother Joe and Dad . . . and aunts, and uncles and so many more!

Was it missing the opportunity to say an Earthly “Good-bye”? 

Was it not knowing how or what to say?

Was it the shock of the “suddenness”? 

Taking comfort in our memories,

And remembering the JOY, the LOVE, and the many celebrations.

Never taking a single moment for granted.

Precious life!  Precious time!  Precious family!




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

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#SOL17: Just Wait . . .


What sentences or words caused

Anxiety,

Fear, or

Trepidation

in your Impressionable Growing Years?

Was it the dreaded . . .

Dum, ta Dum . . .

giphy

Just wait til your dad gets home?

It was a dark and stormy night

(Sorry, Snoopy, I had to borrow that, but it’s so untrue

so that’s why the strike through was used!)

Rules

Expectations

Permissions

One memory

That persists

Decades and decades later . . .

Waiting . . .

Waiting . . .

Waiting . . .

Waiting . . .

for Dad to get home.

What had I done?

Nervous,

Anxious,

Apprehensive . . .

Running to the door.

Announcing to all,

“HE’S HOME!”

Then running to get the tools.  It was time.

The house was brand new!

It took an

“Act of Dad”

For measuring, drilling holes and pounding mollies into the wall.

Unthinkable?

It wasn’t drywall.  A nail couldn’t just be pounded in.  A different form of gypsum board.

Not really a control issue.

A forward-thinking Dad who did’t want to spend future days patching holes and matching paint.

“Just wait ’til Dad gets home to hang items on the wall!”




Where do your ideas come from?

What techniques do you use to build anticipation in your stories?  

Could this structure work for you?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      

Idea Source:  A one line memory (often-used phrase)

Technique:  Like a riddle, give clues, without revealing until the end.

Graphic:   Giphy search for “waiting for dad”

Veterans’ Day


Veteran’s Day

(Blackout poem)

Veterans Day:

an official United States public holiday

November 11

honors military veterans –

persons who served in the United States Armed Forces –

coincides with  Armistice Day and Remembrance Day

the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918

renamed Veterans Day in 1954

Not to be confused with Memorial Day;

Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans,

while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.

On November 11, 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day in which he expressed what he felt the day meant to Americans:

“We remodeled our industries,

concentrated our financial resources,

increased our agricultural output, and

assembled a great army, so

our power was a decisive factor in the victory.

Out of this victory:

new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert

war showed us the strength

of great nations

acting together for high purposes

the victory of arms

foretells the enduring conquests

which can be made in peace

when nations act justly and

in furtherance of the common interests of men”

veterans

How will YOU celebrate Veterans Day?

 

Original Article  (Source:  Wikipedia)

Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans, that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.[1]

On November 11, 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day in which he expressed what he felt the day meant to Americans:

“ADDRESS TO FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN The White House, November 11, 1919. A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and just set of international relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half. – With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought. Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men. To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with – solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.

Slice of Life 16: The Truth and the Answers


(During March, I am blogging daily as a part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge!)

I am traveling this weekend so yesterday’s post invited you, the reader, to “think” and respond!

An icebreaker commonly used at large professional development sessions is called ”Two Truths and a Lie.”  Each person records two truths and a lie and then shares them with another person that they do not know. The listener is supposed to determine which statements are Truths (facts) and which one is the Lie.

Yesterday’s variation in this blog wass 2 Truths and 1 Lie about my dad’s education and then 2 Truths and 1 Lie about my education.  Did you spot the “Lie” for dad and me?

My dad and education:

1) Dad went to a one-room schoolhouse for elementary.

2) Dad walked a mile to school (one way) from his aunt and uncle’s house where he lived during the week.

3. Dad and his brother were the first in his family to graduate from high school.

Fran’s education:

A.  I went to a four room country school for kindergarten.

B.  My third grade and sixth grade teachers had taught my dad.

C. We did not have snow days where we missed school during kindergarten because a dad would put straw in the pickup and haul all the kids and neighbors’ kids to school!

And the envelope PLEASE!

My dad and education:

1) Dad went to a one-room schoolhouse for elementary.

True, in fact this schoolhouse was the site of elections when I was younger and was the site of my first “vote” in a presidential election.

2) Dad walked a mile to school (one way) from his aunt and uncle’s house where he lived during the week.

True, Dad literally was a “boarder” during the week with relatives so that he could attend high school.  His family home was too far from school for a daily walk!

3. Dad and his brother were the first in his family to graduate from high school.

The untruth.  Dad was the first to graduate from high school.  His brother did not.  Technically, this would be half true.

Fran’s education:

A.  I went to a four room country school for kindergarten.

True.  I attended country school where it seemed like half the kids were related to me (brothers, sisters, and cousins!).

B.  My third grade and sixth grade teachers had taught my dad.

The untruth.  My third grade and sixth grade teachers were sisters.  In my opinion, they were “old” enough to have taught my dad.  However, they did NOT teach in a one-room schoolhouse.

C. We did not have snow days where we missed school during kindergarten because a dad would put straw in the pickup and haul all the kids and neighbors’ kids to school!

True.  I would love to believe that our parents were worried about the quality of our education.  Yet I wonder if they were more worried about the sanity of our mothers being cooped up with all of us rambunctious children!

So the answers were 3 and B. Great job, Carol and thanks to all who entered!

Special thanks to the hosts of the Slice of Life Challenge:  StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, and Beth.   More Slice of Life posts can be found at  Two Writing Teachers .

Slice of Life 15: Two Truths and a Lie


(During March, I am blogging daily as a part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge!)

I am traveling this weekend so this post invites you the reader to “think” and respond!

An icebreaker commonly used at large professional development sessions is called “Two Truths and a Lie.”  Each person records two truths and a lie and then shares them with another person that they do not know. The listener is supposed to determine which statements are Truths (facts) and which one is the Lie.

Today’s variation in this blog is 2 Truths and 1 Lie about my dad’s education and then 2 Truths and 1 Lie about my education.  See if you can spot the “Lie” for dad and me.  Enter your answers  in the comments.  I’ll be back later with clues.

My dad and education:

1) Dad went to a one-room schoolhouse for elementary.

2) Dad walked a mile to school (one way) from his aunt and uncle’s house where he lived during the week.

3. Dad and his brother were the first in his family to graduate from high school.

Fran’s education:

A.  I went to a four room country school for kindergarten.

B.  My third grade and sixth grade teachers had taught my dad.

C. We did not have snow days where we missed school during kindergarten because a dad would put straw in the pickup and haul all the kids and neighbors’ kids to school!

Did you spot them?  Dad’s lie?  My lie?  Share your guess and your thinking in the comments below!

Special thanks to the hosts of the Slice of Life Challenge:  StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, and Beth.   More Slice of Life posts can be found at  Two Writing Teachers .

Slice of Life 14: Road Trip with Dad


(During March, I am blogging daily as a part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge!  Special thanks to the hosts of the Slice of Life Challenge:  StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, and Beth.   More Slice of Life posts can be found at  Two Writing Teachers.)

It was the first time, the only time, and therefore, also the last time.  Drinking beer with my dad on a Saturday at 9:30 in the morning on the way home from college with a pickup bed loaded with possessions.

Drinking

Drinking beer

Drinking warm beer

Drinking warm Olympia beer.

With my dad

As he drove down the highway

And did I forget to tell you?

I was under the drinking age in this state,

So

Drinking warm Olympia beer with my dad driving down the highway headed home at 9:30 on a Saturday morning in May.

What brought us to this point?

Spring semester of my collegiate senior year had just ended.  We had to move out of the dorm.  I had summer term left before graduation and marriage.  We had a week before we moved into the house we would occupy, clean and renovate over the summer.  Most of my “things” were going home for the summer in storage.

There were no cell phones back in those prehistoric days.  Our dorm rooms did have phones (I think), but they seldom rang because who could afford long-distance calls?

I had negotiated with my parents to leave the day after classes ended.  One last evening of fellowship (AKA:  party hearty) with friends before campus emptied for the summer.

I had been gone from home for two years.  Junior year, summer in between, and senior year. Belongings accumulated.  What books would I need for my teaching career?  What should I keep for our final summer adventure?

These were questions swirling slowly in my head.  Dad was to be at the dorm at 8 am.

He was there at 7:30.  I was marginally awake, barely moving  He had the only pickup with Iowa plates parked on the street outside the dorm.  The one pickup on the street.

The elevator was out of order.  I remember propping open the outside door so we would not be locked out.

We had to pack “stuff” down three flights of stairs and into the back of the pickup.  We were both puffing as we went down the stairs.  I wondered if I could talk Dad into a short break, a bit of breakfast or anything . . . just to slow the day down. Even with a two hour + ride home, we were still going to be there by noon.  What was the RUSH?

No mercy.  Down steps like pack mules.  Sometimes in tandem; sometimes separate. Always silent.

I didn’t even know if we were violating the “rules” for “MEN” on our dorm floor.  I was NOT going to be the one to tell him.  Silently packing stuff down the steps, out the doors and loading the pick up.

I felt like a thief stealing away into the night.  But no, it was broad daylight.  No one else was awake.  I left a quick note for my summer roommates.

“No more dorms,” I said as I walked out the door.

No one was in the dorm office.  I couldn’t turn in my key.  Back upstairs for another note and to leave my key.

Hope, faith and trust that my roommate would take care of the details.  I would be home before the office opened. Even on moving day. Especially on moving day!

The year will remain unlisted to protect the innocent.  “Hotel California” was one of the top hits of the year but I don’t think there was a radio in the pickup.  If there was, it was not turned on.

Sheer panic. 2+ hours home in a pickup, with my dad. What would we talk about?  Fortunately the pickup was noisy and I thought I might get some sleep.

WRONG, Kingosabbe!

I was shocked as my dad reached under the seat before putting the pickup in gear and pulled two Olympia beers out of a brown paper bag.  No cooler. A brown paper bag.  Warm beer. Driving down the streets of the college town, headed for the highway, underage drinking, and warm beer.

I wanted to tell Dad that it was skunk beer.  It had been cold, then warm . . . and now still warm.  But how to share that knowledge about beer when I was not of drinking age.   Hmmm. Silence.

As we traveled the miles, Dad began to talk.  The sun, warm beer, and hangover. I wanted to ask him to stop.  I didn’t feel well.  I wanted to hang my head out the window like a dog.

And Dad is talking to me about “the will”, guardianship (lovely siblings at home), insurance and my role.

Ahhhh, the “responsible one.”

The irony, he was talking responsibility, estate planning, while breaking the law.  Drinking and driving.  Underage drinking.

Who was this man?  What had he done with my father?
When have someone close to you acted totally out of character?  (Turning point!!!)
Did the situation come as a complete shock?  How did you respond?

Slice of Life 12: Tenacity


(During March, I am blogging daily as a part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge!)

Last month marked the 85th anniversary of my father’s birth day. He wasn’t physically with us for Evan’s graduation or wedding, but I have been thinking of him a lot as I consider how to honor his memory.

Image

Dad hated that we had to make the house “handicapped accessible” with bars in the bathroom and a walk-in shower, but those accommodations meant that he was able to be independent at home. Dignity.  Self-sufficiency.

Why was that important?

Dad fell and broke his hip.  With his diabetes and his myopathy (and heart problems including a pacemaker), his recovery was slow. He needed therapy and care beyond what Mom could provide.  Entering a nursing home was totally out of the question, but it was also the only solution.  Dad’s goal was to work his way out as quickly as possible.  He wasn’t always the “happiest camper” but he was willing to do “anything” that would get him out of there and back on his own two feet.

Tenacity.

Perseverance.

Painful?

Absolutely, but also willing to work through the pain to meet his goal!

As I reflect on his life, I have even greater admiration for the way he achieved the goals that he desired.  Thanks for your tenacity, Dad!

Special thanks to the hosts of the Slice of Life Challenge:  StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, and Beth.   More Slice of Life posts can be found at  Two Writing Teachers .

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