The Gentle-est Man Ever...
Strange things happen between you and your father when you grow up a momma’s boy like I did. My dad and I locked horns on virtually everything; our fights were epic. If it weren’t what to watch on TV, it was his choice of clothes we’d bicker over; if not his driving speed, it was his penchant to put ketchup on the perfectly grilled steak I’d made for him… in one way or another we battled daily; years later I would live to regret that.
I remember as I was growing up frequently thinking to myself that I hoped “never to be anything like him”, and I stuck with that theme in my life for most of his. But as the winter of his years began closing in, I started to see an amazing wisdom in the words, and actions of my father, and as I continued floundering through my late thirties it was increasingly clear that my dad wasn’t so dumb after all.
My father was what I now often refer to as the gentle-est man that ever lived… he never spoke a word of disappointment to anyone about my decisions or life choices, and supported every move I made weather he understood my motives or not. He put up with foolish spending and terrible girlfriends, insane career pursuits and irresponsible behavior, all the while knowing full well that I needed to learn my own lessons as a result of making those choices, so he just made sure I was safe and watched in silent wisdom. His love for my mother and I was as unconditional as it was unwavering, and I never remember a moment that I didn’t believe that.
He relentlessly worked in is upholstery shop in the backyard of our Dalton home for my entire life, only settling into a semi-retired existence some five years prior to his death at 90. In his usual understated fashion he skimped and saved, planned and acted, and lived his entire life to insure that mine was safe and healthy… and he succeeded, perfectly.
My father was my age (48) when I was born, and when he was questioned as to why he’d had a son so late in life and his only answer was that he needed to find the love of his life (my mom) to be a dad, and the "audition process" had taken longer than he’d expected... and his love for my mother can only be described as a sort of poetry in motion… we should all have an emotional example like that to grow up surrounded by.
My mom told me of the day that she found him sobbing in my room while putting be in my crib, and when she asked what was wrong he looked at her, tears streaming down his face and said: “I never thought I’d be a daddy”…
You got your greatest wish Victor, and you were magnificent at it.