Friday, June 17, 2016

Father's Day Memories/Perspective

Many a day - in my youth spent this way
At this point in my life (age 61), I sometimes find it hard to fathom that I am a father, let alone a grandfather!  Some days I actually feel my age, but depending on whats going on I find myself thinking about not long ago graduating from Starkville High (1972), or being in my 20's or 30's.  In the part-time job that I will have for a few more weeks (see last entry), I have a lot of time to think.  Mother's Day was past and I knew Father's Day would be coming next month.  So I started thinking about my own father and grandfathers.  Now, I never knew my Dad's dad.  He passed away when I was only a few months old (1955).  My mother's dad (Grover Sanders), who I (and my children) always called "Big Daddy" was the only grandfather I knew, and he was a great one!  My father (Fred) passed away in 1991, when my oldest child was only 13, so Big Daddy was pretty much their grandfather too.
I don't want to be sad, so I will share a couple of happy memories of my daddy and "Big Daddy".  My dad, was an avid fisherman, and even though I still enjoy the occasional fishing trip, I wasn't into as much as he was.  But, as a boy, I wanted to spend time with him (other than at work - I worked with him weekends and after school - as detailed in other entries) when he was having fun.  So early one Saturday morning, right at sunrise, we were in his boat and going out to check the lines he had set out.  I was still half asleep, and was trailing my hand in the water along side the boat when Dad picked up a pole, tapped me on the leg and said, "Son, you might want to pick up your hand."  I sleepily said, "Huh?", looked over and proceeded to yell and try to levitate at the same moment.  Following my hand was a big gator. (They had been brought in years previous to try and control the beaver population at Noxubee Reservoir.)  I was still shaking, and remember him laughing - at least until he accidentally dropped his cigar in the water.  Then, he lit up another Swisher Sweet, took a puff, and sagely asked, "Need to change your drawers?"  I was not amused.  At least then, I can laugh about it now.
When I was a young boy I was (and still am) an avid reader.  In my pre- and early teens, I was heavily into comic books.  I mowed a lot of yards to support my habit - I mean - they cost 12 cents each for the monthly titles and a whole quarter for the 80 page GIANTS.  Anyway, I digress.  I was 13, had a broken right foot, and was spending the second week of June (since school had just ended) at Big Daddy's and Mama Jenny's.  I had read several of my recently purchased (from saved coinage) titles and was really lusting after an 80 page Spiderman title what was not carried at the United Grocery on Main Street in Starkville (They carried primarily DC monthlies and giants, and very few Marvel (Spiderman being one) monthlies only.  I knew, from a past conversation with the magazine supplier, that McKinnon's Market in Sturgis (Mississippi), the next town over, carried Marvel monthlies and Giants.  So, when Big Daddy got home from work, after working all day in the hot June Mississippi sun, I immediately set about what I thought would be a campaign to take me to Sturgis.  Instead, he just asked my grandmother how long until supper was ready (hour or more she said), poured himself a cold drink of water from the pitcher in the fridge, and said "Let's go!"  I vividly remember the drive in his old green pickup.  Window's rolled down (no a/c), and my cast-encased right foot up and out the window talking excitedly about comics and Big Daddy just smiling and nodding his head.  We got to McKinnon's and he helped me (on my crutches) up the steps so I could get to the comic stand (which I could see just behind the glass window of the store. Not only did they have the Spiderman Giant I wanted, but I ended up spending 8 of the 11 dollars I had.  The only reason I didn't spend that is I knew it would be a few weeks before I could start mowing again, and some DC titles I regularly read would be out before then.  After my purchase, we made our way back to Big Daddy's, had supper, and as they watched TV I lost myself in Spidey's battle with the Green Goblin. 
  Its been almost 25 years(Oct.1991) since Dad passed and  I lost Big Daddy 13 years ago (2003), But I still miss them both!  These two men, with diametrically opposite personalities, did more to shape me in my early years than any one.  I will always love them.  If your father is still around, make sure they know that you do!
Everyone have a great day!