The most caring person I know

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 16, 2005

Many of you in the Roanoke-Chowan region, especially Bertie County, know my father.

Those of you who don’t should.

He’s a good man and a good father.

I have been blessed with good parents. Unfortunately, not every person can say that. But, I have had the privilege of growing up with good parents and two brothers that I love very much. Despite that fact, I haven’t had what used to be termed a &uot;typical&uot; family.

I was four years old when my dad fell more than 15 feet onto a concrete slab. For most people, the story of their father would end here. Fortunately for me, my brother and our children, that isn’t true.

The doctors said he would die. He didn’t. Then they said he would be a vegetable. He isn’t. Then they said he would be dead before he was 40. He’s currently alive and well at 59.

My parents have been divorced for so much of my life that I barely have any recollection of them being together as husband and wife. Their divorce hasn’t been the end of life some people think. It also hasn’t been as easy as any of us would have hoped.

I can honestly say, however, I don’t have any regret about how my family is now that we’re all adults. My life is good largely because I have two good parents.

In fact, over the years they have become friends and they talk and drink coffee together almost daily. We even have our entire family together on most holidays. Not your typical

family that has gone through divorce.

I have known people who haven’t had the fortune to be raised (yes, I know it’s reared) by two good parents. I’ve known some that haven’t even had one good parent.

Most of us would agree that not having a mother is a terrible thing for a child. I have come to understand that, at least as a man, not having a father can be as bad.

Several years ago I told my friend David, whose column alternates with mine in this space, that he was a lucky man because has a terrific father who has no problem showing his love for his son. I maintain that to this day.

My dad and David’s are as different as night and day personality wise, but we both have the fortune to have great fathers who care about us. I wish more people could say that.

I can’t say my dad was overly affectionate growing up. In fact, there is quite a recent development in his life.

He first started showing some of his softer emotions with my brother’s oldest daughter, Brooke. He loved having a grandchild and he didn’t miss a single moment of showing it.

That just grew with the birth of his second granddaughter, Hannah, and with my son, Alex.

He is now the consummate grandfather. He’s proud of them all and wants to be around them and talk about them all the time.

As he has mellowed in his old age (something I always enjoy pointing out to him) he has become more open with his feelings. I’m not sure I ever saw him cry until his mother died just about two months ago.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Just because my dad hasn’t been emotional until later in his life, doesn’t mean he hasn’t shown how he feels about people.

My father is probably the most caring person I know when it comes to taking care of people. He goes above and beyond what even the kindest person would do.

He may still be a little rough around the edges at times, but my dad would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it and then give you the money to have it dry cleaned too.

There isn’t a person I know who does more for his family and friends. He’s been taken advantage of by more than one person, but that has never stopped him from doing what he thinks is right.

He still takes care of those around him to the best of his ability and loves his family and lets them know it.

As I said, if you don’t know my father, you really should.