Saturday, June 14, 2008
Half of Mathews will know who we are just by the picture above. Lucky for me I only have two readers, and only one is from Mathews. Our identity should be safe. This is my father's, and he is known as the VW expert around here. There's so much to say about this particular VW that I will tell you about it another day. It has to do with the Bicentennial. Remind me.
This used to be a meter maid vehicle. We don't have meters in Mathews. Or Gloucester. I have no idea where it came from, but my father fixed it up and now uses it as a farm vehicle. He also uses it for what he calls perimeter checks. Again, this is a story--a good one--for another day. It has to do with "only in Mathews." Remind me to tell you.
My Daddy's pretty darn cool. Let me count the ways:
1. He has beaten the odds.
In the early 1940's, Daddy was born with a hole in his heart at a time when heart surgeries were not the norm. I believe he was a teenager when he had to have his first operation. To lower his body temperature they had to submerge him in ice, and the whole thing was very risky. Since then he's had numerous heart operations and a few other scares, but he's still plugging away. I've heard him say a number of times that he wasn't supposed to be here this long. Thank goodness he was wrong.
2. He is a talented drummer.
At a time when race relations were tense at best, the late 1950's to early 1960's, my father was a white drummer in an otherwise black band. The Dynatones were wildly popular, and they played up and down the East Coast. To this day people talk about how good they were. In spite of being physically attacked once because of other people's biases, he looks back on that band as one of his greatest achievements. From early on, my sisters and I had absolutely no concept of prejudice at all. Through his actions he taught us that everyone is equal and to be respected, beliefs we share to this day.
Subsequently he played with various local bands, all very popular. It was cool having a father who played in a band, especially when they practiced in our basement. I would always show off upstairs on the piano and hope they'd invite me down there to play. They never did.
3. He worked his behind off to keep a roof over our heads and has an incredible work ethic that all three of his children share.
My father owned his own business, a car repair shop in the court house, where he worked from 8-5. He'd come home, eat, and sleep for a few hours before he had to get up at 10 or 11 p.m. to work the night shift at the Naval Weapon Station. He'd come straight home from that and go to his day job. That was his routine Monday through Friday, I don't know how he did it. Friday and/or Saturday nights he played in the band, and another side job was selling fish from the gill nets. Other things he did in his youth include: bowling pin setter (in the days before automated bowling alleys); school bus driver; tractor trailer driver, chartered bus driver, and outboard motor repairman. Even now that he's retired, he gets up at 2:00 a.m. to drive a seafood truck from Deltaville up to Landover, Maryland, several times a week. I simply do not know how he does it.
4. He can fix and/or build anything.
You name it, he can do it; he can fix it; he can build it. Even if he's never done it before, he'll figure it out. The two vehicles above are but a small sampling of his ability to renovate, tinker and rebuild. He is loaded with ingenuity.
5. He has a great philosophy and a very laid back attitude.
I don't know if I've ever seen him stressed; it's possible but I can't recall a single time. One of his favorite expressions is, "Confucious says, 'Don't worry about it.'" He likes to use that one when he hears one of us talking about some problem or concern. He takes each day as it comes and makes the most of any situation.
Thanks, Daddy, for giving us so much, for teaching us so much, and for beating the odds.
We love you.