SUMMERS COUNTY, (Hinton News) – Even before I can remember, I was a Daddy’s girl. My Mom would tell me stories of how I would want to go to my Dad’s building with him while he lifted weights every evening. He was a bodybuilder and kept up the same routine for as long as I could remember. Mom said I would sit on a blanket with a socket set and ask Dad over and over again what each piece was and what it did. Dad, full of patience, never failed to tell me each time I asked.
As I got older, he started teaching me about fishing equipment and taking me with him on fishing trips. I still love to fish and use the knowledge he imparted to me all those years ago.
I remember when Dad let me use the riding mower for the first time. He always trusted me no matter the situation, so he went to another part of the yard to work. The next thing I knew, I had gotten too close to a tree and ran headlong into it. I had no idea reverse existed in my fright, but I did get it stopped and got off. I knew I had to tell Dad, and I remember being so afraid he would be mad. I was so shocked when he laughed. I asked him how he could laugh at me tearing up the mower. He got on, put it in reverse and showed me it was fine. He told me that he should have shown me reverse at the beginning. Dad was very slow to anger.
Once, I was riding my bike as fast as I could up and down the hill. My feet couldn’t stay on the pedals, and I wiped out so badly. A rock wedged in my left knee, and I lay there crying and afraid to move. Our neighbor came over to pick lettuce and found me. She told me to stay still and that she would get my Mom. I remember saying, “No, get my Daddy. He can take care of me”. It hurt my Mom’s feelings, but that was how I viewed life. Dad can fix anything.
My Dad worked at what was called, at that time, the Federal Correctional Institute. He worked in the warehouse/supply part of the facility. I can still see the gray uniform he had to wear in my mind’s eye. I was always incredibly proud of my Dad and wanted to be just like him. I learned to shoot a gun so we could shoot together. We watched horror movies together, and I still love horror movies because he taught me about the Universal Monsters when I was young. We fixed up amazing haunted houses and made fun home movies. I watch them now, and while the tears may flow, it transports me back to a wonderful time, if only for a moment.
I had a fantastic childhood. And then my Dad was an amazing Grandpa. He took to it like it was as natural as breathing. He gladly passed his knowledge on to my kids and would have done anything to make them happy. My Dad continued to take care of me and my kids as long as his health permitted. My Dad was my hero and always will be. Seeing him get sick and go downhill was one of the worst experiences of my life. I know everyone who had a wonderful Dad thinks they had the best, and they’re correct. What a blessing to be able to claim it.