Irreplaceable relationship

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 23, 2005

Father’s Day was last Sunday and as I sat in church that morning, the songs brought memories of my dad.

My dad was a strong protector in our family. He was also the encourager, the one who told us (including my mom) that we could do anything we set our mind on doing. He told my mom and I that we should never listen to anyone that told us we could not accomplish something because we were female.

Dad was born in 1923. You would have thought he would have been from the old school but he wasn’t. Neither did his beliefs go as far as the new school of thought. He felt women were equal to men in all ways but he felt both should have high moral standards and respect for each other. He believed that women should be protected and cared for. He was simply comfortable with who he was and what he believed.

It never bothered his male ego to do what some felt was &uot;women’s work.&uot; He got up first every week day morning and took his shower. Then he fixed my mom a cup of coffee and carried it to her in bed. While she was having her coffee, he prepared breakfast for all of us. All the time he worked he sang and whistled at the top of his lungs.

Later in the day when he got a break at work, he went home and washed the dishes. Mom cooked dinner and he or I cleaned up. When my mom had a hard day at work he cooked and I cleaned up. I have seen him use the vacuum with the teasing laughing way he did any other chore. Most weekends he got a break and mom cooked breakfast and a large meal on Sunday. Saturday was often Chinese or homemade pizza.

He was always there for us and we could talk to him about anything. We thought he could solve any problem and he did.

He was a fierce lion when he felt one of us was threatened. I have never met anyone who was not afraid of him in that mode. When I started dating, boys had to knock and come in to talk to him before he would let me leave. Without exception they were terrified of him and very respectful.

He was never one to do anything unless it was with his family. He and mom took some nights to go out alone and some weekends they went away, usually to Washington D.C. because it was where they were married and they loved it. They loved the Smithsonian and the Redskins and never tired of either. They were the closest couple I have ever met. They loved to be together and most of the time they were laughing and playing. There were very few times when one or the other was angry and there were never any arguments because the one who had the grievance had the floor. Mom’s rule was they never go to bed angry.

As a family, we went to Gloucester Virginia where they had a trailer. We went out on their boat to Chesapeake Bay to fish. We visited Yorktown, Williamsburg and Jamestown. Often my dad would cook what we caught and sometimes we went out to eat the fresh seafood in a local restaurant owned by a friend. We swam on the beach at Yorktown and crabbed on the dock near the marina in Gloucester.

My dad outlived my mom by many years. He died in 2003 and I miss him. He was my friend and confidante until the end. He was still encouraging me and believing in me. It’s a relationship you can’t replace.