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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Looking Back on Father's Day

Today is Father's Day.  Two years ago I posted a tribute to my Dad, and I thought I would repost it this year, as it really is special to me, as he was.

Sunday is Father’s Day. Once a year, we take the time to show our appreciation to all the Dads out there. Those among us who are fortunate to have our Dads in our lives should be grateful. The youngest of seven children, I lost my father when I was 27. He died of a heart attack while driving in Canada on vacation. In some ways it was tragic; we weren’t ready to lose him. Too many things left unsaid; too many goals unachieved. In some ways it was a blessing; he died doing what he loved, and we didn’t have to suffer the pain of watching him wither away at the mercy of some debilitating disease.


Dad had been a pipefitter at the paper mill in Waterville. He spent 40 plus years working there to support his family of 7 children. He would have liked to have been a plumber and have had his own business. He never found the courage, the financing, or the business acumen to achieve his dream.


Sadly, Dad didn’t live long enough to see one of his sons achieve that dream in his place. One of my brothers did start his own successful plumbing and heating business. Mom often said she wished Dad could have been around to see that fleet of red vans with white stenciling proclaiming “Plourde’s Plumbing and Heating, Inc.” My brother eventually retired and sold the business, but I suspect Dad was looking down on him with great wistful pride while the business was in operation.


My Dad never got to see all of his grandchildren; there are 25 in all. He also never saw any great-grandchildren and there are at least 45 of those (I’m not 100% sure of that count!). And now there are great-greats showing up. In among those grandchildren are a teacher, a physical therapist, several computer specialists, a couple of business managers, more than a couple of small business owners, an accountant or two, and several other productive citizens. He also fathered and grandfathered many loving Dads. What a legacy!


Dad never talked about love; he lived it. He spent the better part of his life working hard to provide for us. There was never a shortage of hugs in our house, but he was strict and firm with us. I remember if there was too much horsing around after bedtime, he would come to the foot of the stairs, pound his beefy fist on one of the wooden steps, and threaten (in French), “I’m going to come up there!” I don’t remember that he ever carried out the threat, but we shook between the sheets; there was no question he meant business! We instinctively knew that Dad coming upstairs would NOT be a good thing.


I remember him cooking sometimes. Homefries made from leftover boiled potatoes, French toast, hot dogs, and I especially remember him helping my mother make Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, once the oldest of us had married and would come home on those holidays.

I may have inherited his stubbornness; we locked horns from time to time. When I decided to go to college against his wishes, we nearly came to a parting of the ways. He saw no reason that a girl needed to go to college! In the end, he and my mother came to my college graduation, and both shed tears when I went to the podium to give the the traditional Ivy Oration. I may have gone on to college, but I learned my work ethic, my values, and the importance of family,growing up on our farm. Thank you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.


And Happy Fathers' Day to all Dads, everywhere.

EVA

32 comments:

Marla said...

Eva ~ This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing it.

Kristina P. said...

This was lovely. I am so glad that I had the chance to grow up with both of my grandfathers.

Helene said...

This is such a lovely tribute to your father! He sounds like he was a wonderful man!!

My name is PJ. said...

Absolutely beautiful, EJ! What a great tribute to your father. He is watching over his legacy and smiling brightly!

Brian Miller said...

what a beautiful tribute...i hope that my boys have many more years wih their grandfathers...

natalee said...

Eva--- just touching... a beautiful Happy Fathers Day tribute

lakeviewer said...

"he never talked about love, he lived it.." Lovely tribute, Eva. Soulful and touching.

Elenka said...

What a wonderful tribute to your dad. Sorry you lost him so soon. I am soooo blessed, I'm 61 years old and I still have my dad, in Florida,tho, but I still have him.
Mom, too.
Have a nice day.

Pat said...

This is such a wonderful tribute to your father. What a legacy he has left with all those children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren!

Life with Kaishon said...

This made me cry. I am so thankful that one of his sons was able to become a plumber. That makes me thankful!

Steven Anthony said...

How blessed you are to have had a wonderful dad. And he must have done something right to raise an awesome daughter such as yourself;)

hugs my friend

May said...

Eva, a great tribute to your father!! Happy Father's day to the men in your life!!!

Writing Without Periods! said...

Great tribute. Happy Father's Day,
Mary

Unknown Mami said...

Eva! Must you make me cry. Beautiful. Happy Father's Day to the wonderful fathers in your life.

injaynesworld said...

You're so fortunate. I never had a loving father presence in my life and often wonder how different my life would have been if I would have.

I grabbed your button!

Multiple personalities.. said...

What a wonderful tribute to your father. It really touched my heart to read it. I'm sure wherever he is, he knows how much you love him. Beautiful post!

Erin said...

What a beautiful tribute, I just loved it! My dad died when I was 10 and my only grandfather I knew died when I was 18!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Eva, This is just wonderful and loaded with memories. I miss my Dad even more than usual on Father's Day. Thanks for sharing,
xo jj

Anything Fits A Naked Man said...

What a lovely, moving tribute, Eva. I think my favorite line was the one you wrote about how your Dad did not talk about love, he lived it! I have never thought of it this way, but that's exactly how MY Dad was, too!

I agree with PJ, he's looking down, watching over you, beaming with pride! Cheers!

Eva Gallant said...

MultipleP: Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

JaynesWorld: I took your button, as well! Thanks.

May: Thank you, and the same to the men in your life as well.

Steven: Thank you so much for the kinds words. Hugs back to you.

gayle said...

I loved reading this beautiful post about your dad!!! He sounded like an amazing man!!

The Retired One said...

very nice tribute to him, Eva...he sounds like a wonderful man. I miss my dad too..he died on Thanksgiving Day several years ago.

Kimberly said...

He never talked about love. He lived it.
That is such a powerful statement Eva and so beautiful.
I wish that he could have been around too to see all of the growth and accomplishments of your family.
He sounds like he was one wonderful Dad. xox

Sue said...

I so enjoyed reading this tribute to your dad. Thanks for sharing it again!

=)

fishducky said...

Lovely--thank you!!

Eva Gallant said...

Kimberly: He was a hard-working, loving man. I wish he could have seen my kids; hopefully he sees us all!

Sue: It was my pleasure to share it again. Glad you enjoyed it.

fishducky: You are very welcome!

Al Penwasser said...

I'm fully convinced your Dad DID see everything which happened to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. When all is said and done and I shuffle off this mortal coil, I plan on keeping tabs, too. Although I won't haunt the kids. I don't want to freak them out and have them join me prematurely.

River said...

This is such a lovely tribute to your dad. We get our Father's Day in September. I'll think of my dad, but he died 13 years ago, so there won't be a card or a dinner invitation.

A Beer For The Shower said...

This was a wonderful story. I'm glad to have read it. I'm fortunate that my father is still around, I just hope he's around long enough to see me succeed with my writing.

The Dose of Reality said...

Oh, Eva! That was such a beautiful tribute to your dad. I loved the story about your brother's business and the counts of all of the grandchildren and great grandchildren!
Your dad was an amazing man.

Eva Gallant said...

Al: I hope you are correct!

River: I'm sorry you've lost your Dad, too.

ABFTS: You've already succeeded; your blog is awesome and "Denetri and the Banana-flavored Rocket Ship is on of my favorite books!

Dose of Reality: Thanks...he was special.

CaramelRell said...

I'm glad you re-posted this tribute, and I had the chance to read it. Your tribute was beautiful. I'm happy that your brother was able to start his own plumbing and heating business...I'm sure your dad would be proud! Thanks for stopping by my blog today! :)