Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Reflections on a father's love and steadfastness

 

1912-1980

As I reflect on today - Father's Day, I think of my father and some of the things he did for me. As a young child (under 6 years) I was very sickly, anemic, and had double-pneumonia 5 times. This required hospitalization in the "Babies' Hospital" in Wilmington, NC. This was a forward-thinking hospital in those days. Consider that this was very early 1940s. One of those hospitalizations I ran a fever that just wouldn't break so the treatment was a bathtub filled with water and ice. My mother helped the nurses hold me down in the icy bath. Another time more desperate measures had to be made to build up my sick body. It called for a blood transfusion.

My father's blood was transfused directly from his body into mine. We were on adjacent tables and the tubes ran from him to me. Yes, it was successful. And yes, my father saved my life.

There was no penicillin back then. Only sulfur drugs and injections to build up the blood.

But dad's doing things for me didn't end with saving my life as a small child. No, he influenced me with his steadfast determination to do all he could and do it the best he could. He took correspondence courses in Biblical Theology becoming a respected and knowledgeable lay preacher. He also took a correspondence course in accounting qualifying him to do the accounting for businesses around town. He studied nights after working a long, hard day. He did his bookkeeping for businesses at night after a long hard day. Yes, he was a hard working, intelligent, steadfast man.

He had a love for swimming and as a young single man had participated in swimming and gymnastics at the local YMCA. When summer came he took his family of 3 children, plus mother, to the beach as frequently as possible during the summer months in North Carolina. We lived just a few miles from the beach so it was convenient. One beach trip, he became frustrated at me when I wouldn't just dive head first into the crashing waves. So he laughingly took hold of me and led me out into the deeper waves, past the breakers, over my head. The he grasped me, lifted me up, and toward shore gave a toss that drove me to swim with all my might. From then on, I loved swimming beyond the breakers where the water rolled over you, lifting, lowering you in peaceful joy.

Yes, he sometimes drove me to be more, do more, go further than I thought I could. Strive to swim. Push for an "A."

He was a good father and on my wedding day he gave me away with joyfulness to the man that would become the father of his grandchildren.

I was always the "apple of his eye" and his "pride and joy."

I love you, Dad, and thank you so much for everything.

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