Friday, June 16, 2006

I Remember Norman

I remember him as a quiet, gentle, good humored man. He loved his wife and daughter. Not being the type of guy who liked to go out to dinner or movies, he liked to stay home. As a father he was content to let my mother do the hard work of being the disciplinarian. I rarely saw them argue. Sometimes they were very quiet, but I never heard harsh words. Sometimes I'd hear some heated words at 2 am when the papermill called with a problem, but he never yelled at me or my mother. While he would frequently blister the phone lines because of the work problems, I never heard him say some words. Oh, yeah, he cursed, he just never used certain words commonly used today. He just thought it wasn't necessary.

Unless he had to go on a business trip, he was always there. He loved to come home from the mill and sit in the kitchen while my mother cooked supper. That was their time. They'd talk and share some beer together before supper.

Funny how I remember certain things. I remember "helping" him stir cement in his wheelbarrow so he could fix the driveway at our house in Tuscaloosa. He was the one who got up when I had a nightmare and stayed with me until I went back to sleep. Then there were the many times we practiced baseball. We'd walk to the field near our house and he'd throw me the ball so I could practice hitting my "homeruns".
When I was in Girl Scouts he grudgingly escorted me to the stage to receive an award. He would have rather just sat in the seat and watched.

As a teenager, he and my mother sheltered me from the world, much to my irritation. What teen doesnt think their parents won't let them "do anything". Of course when we all took up golf, I thought it was fun, especially when the high school boys saw a girl playing golf.

The one thing I did learn from them was how to have a good relationship. They didn't have to say a word. They just enjoyed being together. Years later he told me how much he liked just being able to look up from his paper and see my mother doing what ever ar thing she was doing at the time. I missed that in my first marriage.

Dad was devastated when my mother died of cancer at 49. He was only 53. I was 22. So there we were totally unprepared for what to do next. Since my mother didnt allow me in the kitchen except to set the table or dry the dishes, I was lost. I cooked some pretty lousy suppers, yet Dad never said a word. We did become closer though.

Over the years we became more than father and daughter. We became friends. Miles apart we got really good at writing letters. I still have most of them. He was a very funny guy. He would occasionly come to visit and we'd go have dinner and drinks. Listening to his stories, I wish that I had written them down. He always had the best stories.

When I had children he was happy for me. But, he was not the babysitter type. He always said that my mother was cheated because she wanted to be the grandma. He liked to visit me and the kids, especially when they were old enough to go to the toy store and pick out whatever toys they wanted. That he liked. He was not much on buying them clothes but he always knew some ladies who knew how to find really cute things.

I really miss him. Hey Dad, you ought to see who the Texans drafted, do you think the Astros have a chance? Thanks for everything Dad.


annieskyman said...

Mom that made me cry.
I remember him...not a whole lot, but what I do remember I'll never forget.
He came to the house one year and I ran outside to greet him and he picked my up. I loved when he would do that cause I felt like I could see the whole world from his shoulders.
I remember telling him I'd shine his head for a quarter and he gave me five dollars. I miss him too.
I'm sad that I never got to meet your mom. I wonder sometimes did I get any of my traits from her?

cube said...

Oh what a loving tribute. So very sweet.

John-Michael said...

Well... "Way to go!" Now I have to deal with these foggy glasses. But it will be bearable because of the warmth of the smile that you left me with. Thank you. Your Servant, John-Michael