Dad doesn’t talk about his childhood often, when he does he has my full attention. I know that they had a hard life, some of that due to the size of their family but most, in my opinion, due to his father.
My dad’s story is fascinating, heartbreaking, triumphant, and his. I’ll only touch the surface here out of respect.
Dad is the youngest boy of 17, and has 4 sisters that are younger than he. I think sometimes that my grandma died because she was tired, since she wasn’t very old. How he grew into the man that he is, is nothing short of miraculous and Grandma D. played a large part in that.
Dad met Mom at church camp, they will have been married 47 years in May. Dad was a pastor at one point in my life and at the same time was a welder and pipe fitter. Sometimes I wonder if he knows how much it means that he dug ditches, walked to work in freezing temperatures, took menial jobs that he was over qualified for, just so he could keep us together and provide for us after we moved to Augusta. Dad, I saw how tired you were and I know that sometimes I took it for granted that you would always keep going.
The man is simply amazing. He’s taught himself to do so many things over the years despite a severe learning disability that made people question his abilities early in life. Dad fixed our cars even though he wasn’t a mechanic. He built rooms and additions and renovated the house even though he’s never been a carpenter. Dad led our home to God, he prayed and fought to keep us in church and to give us a love for the Lord even when he was no longer a pastor. Dad retired from a nuclear facility last year where he was considered necessary staff. He’s a golfer and a pickle ball player. He’s a father of two, a grandpa of seven, and a surrogate dad and grandpa to countless others. His body shaking silent laughter is enough to make you join in even when you don’t get the joke. These things don’t even begin to scratch the surface of his greatness though.
Everything the man has ever done has been for his family, us. Dad is the one who showed me what it meant to work hard, without complaint. Dad is the one who showed me that it really is your choice whether you overcome the obstacles of life or you let them overcome you. Dad is the one that helps me glue the pieces back together after Mom helps me pick them up.
I feel humbled and privileged when I say that I’m Bruce’s daughter.