Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day and I fear that it is very likely to be the last one I have with my Father and because of work I am unable to be there. I saw him just a couple of days ago, gave him a card and a gift and told him that I loved him, a sentiment he said he returned, and was sorry that I could not be there today. He said he understood and would rather me have a job and be at work when so many have lost their jobs; that's my Dad -- near the end and still worried about his kids.

I could say so much about him. He is a very stubborn man, but in a good way, I guess a better word would be steadfast. He used to be very independent which he sadly can no longer be. He was also a workaholic who would work and work until he fell asleep. He was, and still is, a very good father. He had four sons, 8 grandchildren, a great-granddaughter, and a great grandson on the way. Like Mom, children seem to be drawn to him. He is grandpa at heart to several more.

This picture of him, over 45 years ago, is probably how he wants to be remembered.

His father was born in 1914 and started his family in the middle of a depression. Life was tough but so was he. He had 4 sons, 2 daughters, and about 20 grandchildren and I have no idea how many great-grandchildren, plus quite a few great-great grandchildren born after he died. He was an avid collector of antiques and rocks. His home would have been an entire episode of Antiques Road Show. He was a contractor who mostly built homes; he designed and built the home in which he lived.

My mother's father was born in Vestmaland (spelling uncertain and I can't find it on any map but that's what the family records say) Sweden in 1885 and he was 72 when I was born. He migrated to America when he was 13. As a young man he served in the Cavalry (toward the end of our Cavalry's existence), rode in the rodeo where he got a scar that he had for the rest of his life. When it was time to take on responsibilities he got a job on the railroads in Ogden Utah where he worked until he retired. Needless to say he spoiled his grandson and I do remember him well, though I last saw him when I was six.

This is photo of him, me and my younger brother.

There was an old barber I knew who was older than the hills and refused to retire. He had cut 5 generations of my family's hair. He talked to me about my ancestors a couple of times. He liked my Dad, sort of liked my Grandpa, did not like my Great-Great Grandfather, but said that my Great Grandfather was the greatest guy in the world and that it was a crying shame that he died a few months before I was born because I would have loved him.


That is the man he was referring to, my paternal Grandfather's father. My Dad is to his far right. This is the only picture I have of him. He was a farmer outside of Swartz Creek Michigan.

My paternal grandmother's father was the only Great Grandparent I really got to know. (I occasionally saw one other but really had very little time with her, plus I got to know a step-great grandmother quite well.) He was a Flint factory worker in the auto-industry and retired to become a very successful gardener. I remember one time when he was in his late 80s and we came home to find him up in our pear tree pruning. Dad looked up at him and asked him what he was doing. Great Grandpa answered "Pruning your pear tree. Someone has to do it." A few days later that tree fell over. But he was always healthy and young for his age.


This is a picture from the early 20s, probably 1920 or 21, of him and my Grandmother.

I only have one picture of my Maternal grandfather's father. He was born in Sweden and migrated to America with his family around 1898 and settled in Utah. He was a tailor by trade and he died before my mother was born.


This is a picture of him and my Grandfather about the time they migrated.

My Maternal Grandmother's father brought his family to America about 1916 from Malmo Sweden. While the family has photos of him I have none available. Sadly I also know very little about him.

Not all Grandparents are by blood. My parents are de-facto Grandma and Grandpa to quite a few kids and it was true in my life too. My mother's parents had died before I was born or when I was very young. The void was filled by a middle aged couple who became Grandparents in every sense but bloodline. There could not have been more love between us had they really been my Grandparents. They were always seated the family during weddings and receptions and acknowledged as "honorary grandparents." They died over 20 years ago and I still miss them.



Blogger christian soldier said...

SR-What a documentary...I hope it will be part of your book...awesome...C-CS

2:24 PM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

What a wonderful post! How old is your father? I don't mean to offend, but is he coherent? Now might be a great time to tap his knowledge of the family and its history. I sure wish I'd done that before I father passed away. There's SO much I realize now I don't know about him or his side of the family.

God bless you Dad. This post was a great tribute not just to him but to all the people of his generation. They were and are such pillars of strength.


3:10 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Very Nice!

3:18 PM  
Blogger christian soldier said...

PS-So sad that your Father is so ill-I agree w/ BZ-
I wish I had talked to and written down some of my Dad's thoughts and memories...It is not too late for you,...

5:23 PM  
Blogger sue said...

A few years ago when my parents were both in their earlier nineties, I came to the realization that I had been given a gift. I took advantage of that and although we lived 6 hours apart, I enjoyed them when I could.

My dad died a year ago April at 98 and my mom is 94. I talk to her three times a day - and always just before she goes to bed.

I know a lot of people lose their parents earlier than that, so I am very thankful that I have been able to appreciate them while I could.

I'm sorry about your father. It's hard to lose a parent - no matter when it happens.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Great post Shoprat.

As far as not being there today, don't sweat it. It's just a day. By your previous posts your very involved, he knows you care.

I work a lot of holidays, birthdays, etc. We have gotten to where we do not get to wrapped up in the day. As an example, Thanksgiving is not the day, it's the time with your family. We do it on another day with the kids if I have to work and it's still Thanksgiving to us.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Z said...

Shoprat, I love when you write about your family, as I do when BZ does. It's fascinating.
I love staring into the face of young men in pictures like that of your dad at the top there..and wonder that he didn't know his future and how his son would be writing about him on a blog some day.
So interesting.
YOu did your Dad proud...I wish him well...I hate to see America losing men like him.
Good that he left sons behind...and that you're such a good man and such a good American..a tribute to your father and mother.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

A very moving post!

My last Father's Day with my dad was in 1997. I still miss him so much. I got to know him really well after Mom died. Before that time, I didn't really know him all that well. I guess that we didn't spend as much one-on-one time together until Mom left us.

I could say so much about him. He is a very stubborn man, but in a good way, I guess a better word would be steadfast.

I guess that I could say the same about my dad. A good quality, as far as I'm concerned.

7:54 AM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AOW: that's PRECISELY what occurred to me; my mother passed away first and, without that happening, I don't think I would have gotten to know my father nearly as well.

Steadfast is perfect.


2:48 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

WOW! What a tribute! To a great line of fathers.

10:33 AM  

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