Memories of Mom & Dad
To each other they were “hun” and “sug”, to the adults in the community they were “Alpha” and “Bob”. To the children in the community they were “Aunt Alpha” and “Uncle Bob”, and to me they were “mom” and “dad”. I guess the reason that I am thinking of my parents is because the month of May is dad’s birth month. I think it is wholesome to remember the experiences of your childhood. Most of those experiences evolved around parents. Dad and mom were not only my parents, they were my role models. As I have gotten older I have become more aware of how much of them I have carried with me.
When I start to wonder why my children are doing the things they do, I think I am acting just like mom. Then I think well it is none of my business after all they are adults and I find myself acting just like dad. Mom and dad were quite a couple. She was just over five foot tall and never weighed more than 120 pounds. Dad was over six foot and weighed in excess of 200 pounds. Mother liked to be around her relatives and visited almost daily. Dad liked to know that his relatives were around and an annual visit would suffice.
Mother cooked because she had to. Dad cooked because he wanted to. Mother’s was always good, but consistent. When dad cooked it was innovative and different. Both were caring parents. Mother was concerned about our relationship with God and dad was concerned about how we treated people. This often came together when they took extra care to provide shelter or food to someone in need. Most of the time this was directed to extended families, but there were occasions when strangers were taken in and provided shelter or food.
Dad liked to read the comics to us from the Sunday paper and saw that our shoes were polished before going to church. I remember one Sunday morning as I watched dad polish my shoes, thinking I hope I can polish my children’s shoes like dad does ours. I guess some things get passed along rather quietly without us being aware of where it came from. Mother was consistent beyond measure. Meals were always on time as were other chores. I copied this practice and to this moment my days are planned and detailed to a high degree. Both parents had the average education of their day but neither were high school graduates. Most of their learning was “common sense’ or culturally related.
Dad was always reaching out for new knowledge and taught himself algebra for promotional purposes. They were both pleased that I received a college education. I do think that that could never figure out why I couldn’t figure out how to repair machines. I tried to convince him that he had not passed that gene on to me, but he remained a believerthat left handed people just couldn’t do certain things. Both parents taught me the importance of caring. From mother I learned the importance of caring for your kin. I learned that forgiveness involved forgetting, especially when if involved kinfolk. Dad helped me to understand that helping others was part of being human. He never talked much about helping others. He just did it.
When mother was exceptionally ill, I remember dad never once complained, he just lovingly cared for her. Since it is dad’s birth month I want to take time to belatedly say “Thanks Dad”. Thanks for teaching me: that if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Thanks for helping me to see that it is not how you begin a project, it is how you complete the effort that is important. Don’t start something you can’t finish still guides my efforts. He taught me that when you played a game the object was to win and toward that end you should work. He explained that if you treated a game lightly, you would be tempted to treat life like that. Dad if you see this, know that this apple didn’t fall far from the tree.