My dad was a product of the depression and a veteran of World War II. He was as Tom Brokaw mentioned in his book, one of the greatest generation. Being full-blooded German, he was tough, had little tolerance for foolishness and the buck definitely stopped with him. He did occasionally have another side which was kind and caring.
Being born and raised on a farm, he never got past the 8th grade in formal education but taught himself enough to know what was important in life and not get taken while during business. While growing up, I remember him negotiating on a washer with a Jewish man who owned an appliance store. Although it took a couple of hours, my dad got it for the price he intended. He was mechanically minded and repaired just about everything himself.
As I look back on my life, a few important things stand out about my dad. He was religious and would not allow any of us to miss Mass unless seriously ill. We had to live with his definition of seriously ill. He sent all three children through Catholic school grades 1 12 which was a great personal financial sacrifice. In 1957, when I was ten, I received a Sears J. C. Higgins bicycle for Christmas. I was the envy of the neighborhood. It had chrome fenders, white-walled tires, a horn, light and other accessories. The cost at that time was $66.00 which was a lot of money for the times. I cant recall how many miles I travelled on that bike through the years. Foolishly, when I was 18 or 19, I sold that bike to another person. Wish I still had it.
He passed away in December, 2002, lived to be 90, defied doctors orders, smoked for 35 years, eat anything he wanted which was usually fried and is the 2nd oldest documented person to have lived on his side of the family. Everyone on his side of the family that can be traced to his great-grandparents each died of some type of cancer except him.
Although he had some life-threatening illnesses during his last year of life, he continued to fight to live. I recall him telling me a couple of times, no matter what illness or hurts you have, if you dont feel you can get better in your mind, then you wont. I have remembered that to this day.
Each time I go to the cemetery, I thank both of my parents for all they did for me personally. Sunday will be no different.
I hope everyone who will be celebrating the day will have a great time and if not, pray and reflect on what you dad meant in your life.
Thanks to all for sharing your stories and thank you again Jerry for initiating this thread.
Blessings to my brother in Christ to the south,