Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Reflections

A fiftieth anniversary portrait of my parents.

The pictures above are of my parents, immediately above is at the cottage and also a picture of them taken before my mother died. The young people are my two brothers and I.

My dear friend Asma has written a wonderful blog about her Dad who, happily, is still living.

It brought to mind my own Dad whom I loved very much. If he were still living, he would have been 101 which, of course, would be an unusual age for anybody to live to.

I remember many happy things that my Dad and I did. He used to wash my hair for me in the kitchen sink and this was a wonderful routine as it gave us time together. He used to help me with my homework every night when he came home from work.

It was my Dad who would come if I was having bad dreams. I remember one occasion when I had a high fever and was in bed for several days. The doctor had come to the home and ordered bedrest for me. I think I was a young preteen, and I read a book which gave me nightmares. It was my Dad who came to reassure me. He always was my tower of strength even though he never said much. His favourite name for me was "snigglefritzen".

He took us to see the Christmas decorations in Montreal once a year in the car.

I can remember us going to the Lighthouse in Lachine where the Christmas trees were sold and my brothers and I picking out a tree. It was great fun to decorate it, and my Dad was in charge of placing the lights first.

Ah, so many memories of this man who taught me so much. It was he who taught me to face the traffic if I was walking on a country road. He even taught me how to fire a rifle, but I don't remember how now.

When my feet got frostbite one winter while we were at the cottage, he knew what to do. He was a very resourceful person whose quiet strength kept the family on an even keel.

I think though, that the most important things I learned from him was the value of honest work, keeping one's word, doing what one could to help another, and civic responsibility. He was a deeply religious man who lived his faith out. We always prayed before meals and before we would take off for long road trips to Florida. He was the Superintendent of the Sunday School and my mother was the Assistant Superintendent. They made a pretty good team!

My mother, of course, stayed home as most women did in those days. Family groups were stronger because of that, in my opinion. On my Dad's salary and his hard work, we had a city home and a country cottage, more than enough food on the table, secular and religious education, and a safe environment in which to grow up.

I don't recall him ever yelling at us, but I do remember him giving me the strap one time after I got in trouble in school. I think it hurt him more than it hurt me!

I remember him teaching me how to dance, so that when my fiance invited me to a dance, I could at least not bruise the poor fellow's foot too much.

Daddy drove us both to the special dance and I wore my fancy light blue chiffon dress. Georg (George) wore a navy blue suit and a nice shirt and tie and we had a fantastic time. My father picked us up at the end of the dance and dropped Georg off and then brought me home. I was 18 at that time and Georg was 21.

There are a million more memories but that is all that is coming to mind right now.

My Dad was gentle, kind but strict and my Mom and Dad were married over 50 years and I never heard them have angry words together. We went to church, participated in activities related to church, visited family who lived all around us and thanks to the love that my Mother and Father had for each other since they were 14 years of age, my brothers and I had a stable family life. They met in a youth group at church at age 14 and married when they were 25. Both were the same age.

I still have the clippings from the Lachine Messenger which tell of their wedding.

I was thinking about men who play the role of father/mentor to children such as Big Brothers or favourite uncles.

What a golden opportunity for them to impact their good values on a young life. What a privilege as well to be a good influence.

A good man is worth a million dollars and one to be cherished and respected.

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