My Father, My Best FriendHe came into my life when I was three. We may not have had the same blood, but no one would have known it. He loved me just the same. He was always there for me as a father should be. He was not perfect. He had his faults and a weakness for beautiful women. He was not a one woman man and had many girl friends. He had such a free spirit that he could not just stick to one. Though, the odd thing is that he was always honest about it and they did not mind sharing him. I know this sounds odd, but they were all long term friends as well, knowing that he had no interest in ever marrying again. He had been married to my mother for 8 years, which was his second marriage. I guess that was enough for him.
He was very open minded and I could talk to him about anything. He was my best friend. The great thing is that I was not just special, he would have loved any child the same. He was that kind of man. He was the rare kind that was not afraid to step up and be what a father should be whether it was his blood or not. He loved all children and eventually was a wonderful grandfather to my children.
He had a wonderful sense of humor. It was hard to tell when he was joking and not. I fell gullibly into his trap constantly. He would tell a joke so well, that you wouldn't know it was a joke until the end.
When I was a little girl, he had an answer to everything. I believed everything he said to the point that I would argue with friends when they told me that I was false in my answers. It was not until later that I realized that he always had an answer, because if he did not know the answer he thought it was funny to make one up. Funny thing is, sometimes I have done this now with my own children. For a while I had my youngest daughter convinced that if she played in the mud, her boobies would grow.
My father was a great writer. He never published anything, but he should have. He was a great story teller. He had plenty of life stories to share. Growing up he often spoke of the one room school house that he walked sometimes miles in the snow of Missouri to get there. He may have only had up to an 8th grade education, but he was highly educated. An 8th grade education in his time, was much more than it is today.
He eventually went into the military and fraught in Vietnam. He took some college courses through the military and eventually the man with only an 8th grade education was teaching other college students.
My father was the least racist or sexist man I have ever known. He believed heavily in equal rights and if anyone spoke racist comments in his home, they were told to leave. He believed in equality among women and men. He taught me that I was not limited to my sex. Anything is possible if you are willing to work hard enough for it.
He was my biggest supporter for home educating my children. After all he learned more in that one room school house than my children were learning in the large public school class room.
Always when I would come to visit with my children, we would sit at his kitchen table. Many of the stories he would tell, were those that I had heard from him already. I did not mind though. I loved hearing them again.
He died of cancer this past July. I stayed and took care of him in his last months. It was difficult watching this strong independent man to needing help for everything and forgetting where he was. He was there for me throughout my life and it was an honor. Now it was my turn. In his last moment of clarity, which happens often when they are close to death, he wanted to sit at the kitchen table. So, I helped him into his wheelchair and to the table. We talked together like we did so many times. Then he looked at me and said, " You do know that I am going to die". I said yes, and told him a quote by White Elk that is special to me. "When you were born, you cried, and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, you rejoice, but the world cries." and I said, "You have accomplished this. You have made an impact on many lives and I am lucky and honored that you chose to be my father, I love you." He said that he needed to lay down. When I got him into the bed, he grabbed my hand and told me he loved me again and I said it back. He never spoke again or got out of bed. He died two days later.
His e-mail is still active for some reason. So, when I get the erge, I write him and my e-mail is never sent back.