My father died on March 11, 2014. March 11 also happens to be my birthday and as I consider birthdays past Dad’s smiling face is always there – always.
He could magically envision a dilapidated house in disrepair and have David (my brother) and myself renew it to a beautiful home once again, under his specifications of course. My brother nor I nor anybody else I knew could do the things that Dad could do.
Dad never made millions in real estate though because instead of just fixing them up enough to sell for his profit…Dad would fall in love with each one. He would turn the properties into doll houses that were pleasing to the eye. He saw a beautiful, and wonderful world – through – kind, rose colored glasses.
His self-assuredness was a quality held in high esteem by me. Dad was many things to many people but shy was not one of those things. Never have I seen a person with such integrity. I do not mean to say that he was a saint…not by any stretch of the imagination. However, he was always true to himself and held tightly to his beliefs. Dad could not be swayed. He listened to and respected everybody’s opinion before telling them they were wrong hahaha.
Dad was smart. I don’t know where it came from, but he was as intelligent as anybody with a degree. And he was super fast with all he attempted. I remember a post accident afternoon when I returned from Inver Hills Community College; Dad had the guys dressing up the front of one his buildings and his friend, Tommy, was there.
Tommy asked me, “Where are you coming from?”
I told him and then he said, “Aren’t you smart enough yet? You’re over thirty years old.” It was a miracle that I was alive. “Your dad was so smart he quit school in the eighth grade (Dad had to quit to help support their large family, seventeen in all)and you’re in your thirties and still trying to learn, give it up.”
I didn’t say anything because he was a good friend to Dad. Dad wished that he could’ve gone to college and I wish that he would’ve also. Then maybe he wouldn’t have been so tough on us kids for wanting a better education. Dad was always so proud of our cousins who went on to a college or played sports but when it came to his kids…
Dad would get angry when we spoke of going to college and would say, “What d’ya wanna go to college for (the time was in the late sixties and early seventies) All ya’ learn how to do is smoke dope and protest! The professors teach that shit to the kids” End of subject.
I recall driving with Dad down the alley towards White Bear Avenue. As we sat waiting for the cars to pass on the avenue I asked him a question. It probably wasn’t a good time as we were on the lookout for my older brother who’d run away.
I asked, “Dad could I join the Golden Gloves?” I thought that would make him proud.
Instead his reply was, “Aw Steve, what d’ya wanna do that for? You’re a good-looking kid. Ya’ start boxing and you’ll get a broken nose and cauliflower ears, you don’t wanna do that.” But at the time it was exactly what I wanted to do.
Linda was smart and hid to go to school and she’s done well for herself.
Peggy did great at first being a secretary-receptionist and later a nurse…and eventually a fantastic day-care provider.
Dad focused most of his energy on David and his family after my car wreck. He created in David a wealthy man. Nearly all he touched, well Dad had the “Midas Touch.”
Dad did what he thought was right regarding, Fred. And he always said usually in an angry tone, “That’s it – I’m not giving him anymore money,” but he always did. Dad would tell me…”He can’t work. What’s he gonna’ do? I’ll just try to take care of him the best I can until I die.”
I remember working with him back in the eighties and during that time I had a home built in the country on some acreage and the place was furnished and decorated nicely. We had a couple newer cars and a new truck. Things that’s all, but at the time…must haves.
Dad helped us all in one way or another and accomplished much. I am and I always was proud of him.
My dad was a real superman to me! He is sorely missed by all who knew him. But you know what? Now Mom and Dad are together in heaven awaiting the glorious reunion yet to come and I can’t wait to hear Dad singing that Little Jimmie Dickens song again…”Out Behind the Barn,” or maybe his spirit and Mom’s will be dancing to a polka or floating to the “Tennessee Waltz.”
Until next year folks…..