Today I'm going to the Veterans' Day celebration in Valley to say a few words about my Dad. Shawn Daily, the postmaster for the Valley office, who is also in the military, is doing the military bio. I am to cover the civilian side. Dad was a Medal of Honor recipient.
He was a good man, who took us to church every Sunday. Sunday morning, he grabbed your toes through the cover to awaken you. Sundays we ate out so Mom didn't have to cook. Britlings, the Frost Top--I can still taste the Lot-o-Burgers. Family was important to spend time and we did--usually visiting both Grandmothers and siblings on one side or the other on Sunday afternoons. Sunday evenings were spent at home around the dinner table and then TV-- Bonanza or Ed Sullivan. He was always in bed by 9. Snoring from that room sounded like a German Shepard dog guarded the bed.
Dad worked five days a week at the VA Hospital in Birmingham, AL. He left for work every morning by 5:30 but not before planting a Listerine-laden kiss on your sleeping cheek. To this day I don't have to use an eye lash curler. You could also set your clock by his 5:30 return. Dinner was on the table and we ate together. Paper, TV, a little help with homework--he was good at Math--thank goodness--I was not.
Our yard was also neat and clean--girls didn't have to do yard work--thanks goodness--sorry Hank.
Girls washed dishes. Mom did everything else. The house was also always neat and clean.
If Dad had a vice it was cigars and new cars. He smoked cigars for years and then chewed them for years after that. New cars were always a surprise. To my knowledge, he always picked them out alone. I'm guessing he paid cash. He didn't like debt. He'd just come home with a new car about every two years. He'd trade the old ones until we got old enough to drive. My first car was a '64 Chevy, white with red interior. I inherited it when I was a sophomore at Alabama. Freshmen couldn't have cars then.
Dad made sure all his kids got an education. Grammar school and up. You respected your teachers. The GI Bill helped with our college educations. Dad helped with the $20 to $50 in your pocket when you went back to school on Sunday evenings after a weekend visit. When I didn't visit. I'd get a short letter with a little cash about how I needed to call my Mom. When I say short, I mean short--less than a paragraph. I loved those letters and the cash was nice too. He and Mom never called before they visited me in college. Back then those visits were not cherished like I would have had I know that I wouldn't have them anymore.
Precious memories of him were when Hedgie Girl was a baby. We lived in Pell City and Leeds was about a 30 minute trip. Early in the morning after Duke Boy had left for church, I'd hear a knock. No call first. Dad would show up and hug me--then sit and hold Hedgie Girl. He'd stay about an hour while I visited a little then did whatever Moms of newborns do--shower, have another cup of coffee, do laundry--then he'd give her back and say bye. Makes tears to think about those times.
He loved us. We loved him. I miss him. I wish he was here to hold our soon to be family member who is out there somewhere waiting to join our family.
A salute today to my Dad and to all those who helped give us the kind of freedom that I enjoyed as a child, and I continue to enjoy today. Thanks Dad.