Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I have been away for a few days, and I thought I would continue with the rest of the story.  The stories I shared were made from memories and feelings that came well after the fact.  This is a picture of my dad taken in Mobile, Alabama probably months prior to his death.  He looked fine, but the Leukemia that ravaged his body was only slowed a bit by the "Experimental Drugs" that brought his blood count back in line.  The term "chemotherapy" was not used until much later.  It was really hard to tell that anything was wrong as our lives continued much as they had before the diagnosis.  But, the drugs themselves had side effects and in October of 1963 my dad died from a cerebral hemorrhage that was related to his treatment.  I remember it all in snippets of foggy recollections.  He was 47 years old and I was one day away from my 16th birthday.  After his death I was in a surreal world.  I never really thought about the reality of what life would be like without him.  My dad was a Christian man and he taught us with his bible and his example in his own quiet way.  I had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior when I was nine years old.  I was trying to hold to my faith that we would one day be together again, but the realities of life were crashing hard around me.  I remember not really knowing how to act after I was notified that he died.  I had been to the hospital the night before to visit him and now he wasn't there anymore.  I was told more than once by well meaning friends and relatives that I was  now the man of the house.  They just didn't know how much I didn't want to be.  Well, my mother, who was a full time housewife, took the reins and quietly marched forward.  She had gone to Junior College and taken some business courses before she and dad married.  She sold our house in Mobile and went to Hattiesburg, Mississippi and bought another one.  We moved and she enrolled in secretarial courses by correspondence.  I was starting the 11th grade.  My sister was two years younger, and my brother was 10 years younger.  Mother finished and landed a job as the secretary to the Dean of the Business School at the University of Southern Mississippi.  We made it.  I always liked the story of the little boy who was proudly standing with his foot on the head of a large bear that had recently been shot.  He commented to passers by "We kilt a bear, Ma shot it."  Life moved on and here we are today.  Years later I wrote this poem in honor of my father.  Both my parents were Christians and dealt with life with a strong faith in Jesus Christ. 

              WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Over 40 years ago, he died.
I still miss him everyday.
Quiet country boy – Brought up hard.
Learned early how to make his way.

Strong from work and tan from sun.
Dark hair and winning smile.
I never saw him waiver, change,
in good times or in trial.

He loved hard work, family.
Served his country. Spoke the truth.
Taught with bible and example.
Twigs need bending in their youth.

Outdoors was his favorite place.
Hunting, fishing, sun, fresh air.
He taught me manly lessons
when there were no women there.

Grave illness struck, he fought hard,
working right up to the end.
He crossed the bar so peacefully
to meet his Lord, and friend.

The world won’t know how great he was.
He had no wealth or fame.
Because he would not compromise
the value of his name.

I’m older now than he was
when he left this mortal frame.
But hope, that like my dad I leave
the treasure of a name.

 Dennis Price 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I encourage your comments. Keep the language civil and you will be published.