Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 1

Today is July 1. It should be like any other day.

But it isn’t.

July 1 is one of those days I will always remember. Some dates are remembered for birthdates of spouses and children, along with anniversaries.

July 1 is different, though. Because we lost my father on this date two years ago. I try not to focus on it, or let it bother me, but it weighs heavily on me, bringing back all those memories of my father.

He had such a big influence in my life for 45 years and there has been a hole for the last two years.

My earliest memories feature him. I remember we were out at Wister Lake and he would pick me up and act like he was going to toss me in the lake. We still have that picture somewhere. I have a big smile on my face.

I also remember so much more. He taught me how to throw a football, play catch with a baseball and shoot a basketball. He also taught me pretty much everything I know about photography.

He and my mother also tried to teach me the difference between right and wrong. My parents were rather strict on me when I was a youth. Other kids could do so much more. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t come and go as I please or stay out as long as I wanted.

I do now and I am thankful. What kind of person would I have been if I did not have that support?

I regret that I never thanked him or told him how much he meant to me. I always planned on saying these things and much more, but never got around to it. Hopefully he knew. We butted heads many times. I figure he was right and I was wrong about 99.9 percent of the time.

I try not to dwell on my last memory of him, or the last few weeks when he was so sick and weak. But even then he would ask how I was doing, more concerned with his wife and sons than he was about the cancer eating up his body.

Instead, I try to remember him standing on the sidelines during a football game with his camera out and ready. Or going outside at halftime of a football game to play catch. Or shooting baskets and the old-fashioned way he shot with one hand. And calling me up during football games when something good, or bad, happened. It is hard now to watch an OU game. He loved the Sooners almost as much as he loved his family.

I remember how meticulous he was about his projects. He would spend more time reading and planning than he did doing the project, while I would just wing whatever I was trying to put together.

I also remember how perfect his garden was, back during his gardening phase. All the rows were perfect. Over the last few years, he enjoyed reading and I remember him sitting on the back porch with a book in his hands, wearing his old overalls with the glasses leaning down on his nose.

And I remember how much he cared for his dogs, lastly Buck, who we lost last week. Buck was never the same without my father, and I don’t know that I will be either.

He was always so proud of Heavener and could not understand why others did not feel this way. My father was a private person, but he gave so much, more than I could ever hope to do.

I will try to think of other things today and not dwell on what happened two years ago. But I don’t know if that will work.

1 comment:

  1. Great story, Craig. Your dad indeed was a great guy!

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