Blog 2091 – 06.16.2021
I wrote a few days ago that I would miss my daddy’s stories and him more if they and he were not so big a part of me. My dad left this time space jungle twenty-four years ago next month. I was there for his first Father’s Day in 1951 and though I missed getting to be with him on his last in 1997 I was able to spend his last day with him.
I have many wonderful memories of my dad. He was not perfect as mama reminded him and his two sons almost daily. Mama was not perfect either, none of us is, but my dad saw life as not only tolerable, but brimming with fun and adventure.
Dad was most at home out in the woods hunting, or by or on the Tennessee River fishing. One of dad’s favorite expressions was, “Gone fishin’, not just a wishin’.” Some of my fondest memories of my dad are of sharing the woods and river with him, hunting and fishing together.
For a long time after my dad passed I would pick up the phone and get ready to call and ask him something that only he could answer. Then I started just asking the question and letting a remembered conversation with dad answer it. Dad, I really was listening after all and thank you so much for all the sage advice that I may not have appreciated fully at the time, but certainly do now. But, then you knew I would as you did your own dad’s.
There is a strained dynamic between father’s and sons who are always vying, it seems, for the love of the same woman. It was more than evident that mom loved both her sons more than their father. But she loved our daddy, faults and all, as he loved her. My daddy loved us the best he knew how. I never got to personally meet my dad’s dad because he had passed several years before I was born, but Thomas Fleetwood White lived on in his son’s memory and those of all my aunts and uncles on my dad’s side. They each had their favorite stories of their daddy, but none were as tender, loving, and revealing as those that my dad told. Loving his daddy and overlooking his shortcomings helped me to learn to do that with my own father.
Sunday is Father’s Day. Thirty-one years ago my son, Jonathan David James Wallace White (Jay for short) made me a father for the second time. Emily his ten year old sister, at the time, had first made me a father a decade earlier. Emily passed nine years ago next month. Father’s Day always has a touch of sadness with out Dad or Emily here to share it in person with me. My wife, Linda, always does something to honor me on that day and when he was little always made sure Jay did as well. For some years now he has done that on his own.
On May twenty-second Jay married his Lauren. They plan on having a child in the very near future. They will learn so much, as children are the true teachers, reflecting our selves back at us the most clearly. Perhaps next Father’s Day will be Jay’s first Father’s Day as a dad.
What do you think about that, Dad?
Your friend and fellow traveler,