Saturday, June 14, 2008

Father's Day

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.


Anonymous said...

Aces to your dad. He is an incredible man. You are very fortunate to have a father like that. He and my husband's grandfather worked in that shop together behind the D.G. store. The building is still there. Your father worked harder than most people should. Perhaps that's what keeps him going.
Happy Fathers Day to him!

Anonymous said...

Chesapeake Gal,
You have more than 2 readers.
A google news alert comes to my mail box very time something with Chesapeake Bay comes up. So your articles show up.
I don't read them all only for the the lack of time. I love the ones that I do.
Dynatones! No kidding! Big Daddy and the Dynatones,I loved them and the nights at White Stone Beach.
When I came home from Viet Nam I couldn't wait for Saturday night to come so I could go there.
It was gone and closed up. A landmark to my youth.
I wish someone had tapes of the Dynatones. It was really good music.
They use to close every night with the people there getting on the stage with them and sing "Everybody loves a Lover"
Native of the Northern Neck

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

cats - I am very lucky indeed.

Ken - My father talks about White Stone beach a lot. Many of the band members are still around here in Mathews, although two of them have died in the past several years. My father says that someone actually does have a recording of their music, and I thought he said they cut an album, but don't quote me on that one.

It's great that you remember that band. I wish I could have heard them myself as much as he talks about them.

Thanks for writing. Happy Father's Day to everyone.

tj said...

...Aww CBW, your dad sounds like a great fella! And my hat is off to him for raising such a great gal too! And what a neat memory of your dad in the band! Does he still get behind the drums? I tried the drums once thinking to myself, "oh just how hard can this be?" lol...well, it's like rubbing your belly and patting your head to me - it ain't gonna happen! ;o)

...Love the VDub too - can't wait for the stories on that one!

...Enjoy Father's Day and hug your dad extra tight...

...Blessings CBW... :o)

CGS said...

I found your blog off of Grandma J's. I was reading the post this morning about your dad and it struck me what a parallel life he lead to my father-in-law...down to the bad heart and drum skills. Maybe they were twins in a different life. =)

We live relatively close to you, but the view from where you live totally beats mine! Great pictures - can't wait to check back. Meg

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

tj -Thanks. He hasn't played the drums in about 19 years (and that was just at a wedding when we called him up and forced him to play). You're funny - as creative and artistic as you are, I'm sure there is a musical bone in your body somewhere.

cgs - It does sound like they're related, or kin as we like to say. Glad you stopped by.

foolery said...

I can't believe I got distracted and didn't leave a comment when I read this yesterday, so I'll leave one now.

That was a beautiful tribute. And I looked up Dynatones on iTunes to see what I could find, because the name is so familiar, and there was at least one band by that name. No chance that his band is one of those, huh?

Thanks, CBW. I just called my dad AGAIN this morning because of you.