The Heart Of This Man

My father worked.  He built the roof that was over my head.  He put the food in the refrigerator.  He was not always there when I wanted him, but he was there when I needed him.  He did not coach little league or basketball.  I learned from him by example, sitting in the garage as he fixed the car or over the sink handing him tools.  ‘His’ time was the five minutes he took after diner to smoke a cigarette about every 6 weeks when his rotating shift  allowed him to be home on Sunday at dinner time. 
Overtime, double shifts in the refinery that Tony Soprano passes at the start of each show.  I worked there a few summers as a laborer.  Sulfur smell, pipes filled with steam blowing off at random intervals; even weeds could not grow there.  Dante’s vision of hell could not capture this.  One night, 8 hours after his second double shift, he headed into work for his next, 11 to 7.  Exhausted from 16 hours and trying to sleep at 3pm while the family was active, he made a left into the refinery.  He did not see the warning lights and there was no railroad gate.  The freight train hit the front end of his Chrysler centered on the passenger wheel.  Spun him around and ran over the back.  He got out, and went to work.
I watched him, leave those factory gates as I picked him up and dropped him off for two weeks until we got the insurance money.  Straight, strong, defiant he walked, work clothes rolled in a towel. 
I’ve worked since I was 13, knife and wrench scars on my hands, a burn mark on my back from the steam lines at that same refinery.  Work…more than that… it’s the ability to provide… that is at the heart of a man.  It defines him… it defines me.  Amorphous is the rest of my life, shrouded in mist and mystery… where I will live… who will stand by me?  The constant is work and the ability to provide the water and soil from which life grows.  It is the sun … as I am the son…. of my father.  It is at the heart of this man.
Baroquenhorse Baroquenhorse
51-55, M
7 Responses Feb 25, 2011

Quantified...ultimately quantified! Thank you for putting this up. I needed it. <br />
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If you were here, I'd buy you a cold one.

Hagakure my friend, i could use one. A kindred soul... thank you.

Loved the story is a picture of so many dads. It reminds me so much of growing up. My dad worked in a car plant and also worked those nasty swing shifts. Did not get to eat every meal with him but it made the ones i did all that much more special. <br />
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I still have my daddy here with me thank god. I lost two of the most important men in my life and hope dad is arround for a long time.<br />
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you sound like a great dad

It is great you have your dad. I miss mine. the older i get the more i appreciate him and what he did for us.
Savor each day with him and all you love. the days go too fast.

I lost two verry important men that i thought of as my2nd and other dad in the last year or so now more than ever i appriciate my daddy even more. I agree the older i get the more i look up to and admire him

yes dood, it was a gift... a gift of love of a man to his family.<br />
i try to measure up, but fell a bit short.

Thanks for sharing your father with us. The toil of his life to give you life and inturn to let you grow to be the man you are now.<br />
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(The gift form one person to another)<br />
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To Life!

Thank you very much Vignette. Yes. i think that is what make EP an interesting place to write and read... we often feel alone in our experience... our lives. But we are not really totally unique our paths are similar. There was a quiet Hero in your dad, I will bet, as there was in mine.

Thank you Luv... i write... me

Wow. Powerful. Well, written. You pulled me right in with your words.