Happy Father’s Day

I want to wish everyone a Happy Father’s Day as we remember our dads! Because of our ages, our fathers are most likely in heaven watching over us. Many of our fathers were heroes who, as young men, served our country. My dad was part of the Greatest Generation and served in WWII, other dads may have served in Korea. My 92-year-old Dad never mentioned WWII until I went to his last 449 Bomb Group 23rd reunion of 716th Bomb Squadron. There were only 11 Honorees remaining, and Dad wanted to say goodbye to his brothers in war. Dad died the following year.

Our dads were hard working family men, they showed up for dinner and no one left the table until Dad was finished eating. After dinner, our dads would help us with homework, teach us how to ride bikes, teach sons how to throw a ball, and, in my case, would teach daughters how to dance. I remember standing on top of my Dad’s shoes, and he would move with the music. Once I learned the basics, he taught me to jitterbug. I was 4 when I first danced with my Dad, he was 92 when we danced our last dance.

Dads didn’t change too many diapers back then but they played with us. Dad would lay down on the floor, in our makeshift gym

Dad Wayne with Kathy and sister Dottie

of a living room. We became acrobats and gymnasts. Our feet were in his hands and he would teach us balance as he lifted us higher and higher, first with two hands, then with one hand, never letting us fall. I have many fond memories playing
horsey, riding on my dad ‘s back.  He taught me how to gig frogs, how to bait a fish hook and would roast marshmallows with me while sitting around the camp fire singing songs.

One of my warmest memories was when I’d fall asleep and he’d gently pick me up, carry me to bed and tuck me in. Sometimes I would briefly wake up, and could have walked to my room, but I loved the feeling of Dad’s arms around me, and kept my eyes tightly shut. I didn’t want to interrupt one of the safest and warmest memories of my childhood.

Dad loved riding horses so we would go to the rodeos and watch the barrel racers. We both loved watermelon, so he would take me on a watermelon date. I felt special because it was just Dad and me. The watermelon stand was brightly lit with white lights and we sat on shiny green benches. On Easter, Dad would always buy me a corsage and pin it on me, and at Christmas he surprised me with an Annie Oakley cowgirl outfit complete with hat and gun holster set.

Dad didn’t always coddle me, when he thought I was old enough to cut the grass, he put me on the riding lawn mower. Big mistake! The yard was hilly and I was afraid I’d tip over. Dad completely overestimated my ability. I lost control of the mower and cut down a tree. Trying to teach me to water ski was not easy either. He ended up throwing me into the river in the middle of the main channel, and a barge was coming. I wanted to get back into the boat and Dad said if you want out, you’ll have to ski out. I got up on the skis. I skied through wake and as soon as I cleared the main channel, I let go of the line, but learned to become a

Thanks, Dad!

pretty good water skier.

My best memories of Dad were from early youth. Those were the important years when the freely given love, affection, and time made me feel safe, and made me who I am today. I hope your childhood memories are as fond as mine.
Happy Father’s Day to all!

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