Sunday, June 21, 2015

I'm remembering Daddy On Father's Day By Sandy Semerad

 A Message in the Roses
What do Dads want on Father’s Day?
The number one answer, according to a recent survey, is spending time with family and loved ones. Number two is clothing. Beer is number three.
This survey may not be scientific, but I agree with the number one answer. I wish I could have spent more time with my Dad.
As a child, I was afraid of monsters and would often sneak into my parents’ bed at night. After I fell asleep, Daddy would carry me back to my bed. One time he didn’t.
That was the night he died. I was seven.
The next morning, I found Mama crying in the living room. Our house was full of people. Many of them were crying also.
“Where’s Daddy,” I asked Mother.
“He’s gone away,” she said.
Daddy looked handsome in the shiny casket, but asleep. I didn’t understand he wouldn’t wake up. He died of a heart attack, I was told.
Before Daddy died, he’d complained of a backache, and I remember he came home early one afternoon to rest his back. Mama told me not to bother him.
But I couldn’t resist. I sat on his bed and chattered away, as he puffed on a cigarette. I can still see his pack of Camels on the bed stand.
Daddy rarely came home early. He worked most of the time. He wanted to give us the so-called finer things in life: a large brick home, a fishing pond, a swimming pool, tennis courts and our own merry-go-round.
Friends from Geneva, Alabama who knew Daddy, called him--Ira Hodges--an entrepreneur. He owned Hodges hardware in the heart of town, but before he married Mama and moved to Geneva, he was a Texas wildcatter--an oilman.
One of my Geneva friends, John Savage, who as a teen worked with Daddy, said he thought Daddy seemed too big for a small town.
But Daddy loved Geneva, Mama said. He’d often give credit on a handshake, and he helped many people in need.
Daddy once repaired the broken windows in a family’s house for free. “It was freezing and we couldn’t afford to pay,” the father of the family told me.
Many years after Daddy passed, I spotted a strange figure, wandering around our house. I froze in fear. Mama wasn’t home at the time.
I called police before I realized the man wasn’t a stranger at all. He used to work for Daddy, but had since moved away from the area. He didn’t know Daddy had died, he said.
“Whenever I needed work, Mr. Ira would always give me some,” the man said.
I’ve told my daughters and granddaughter this story and other stories about Daddy. I want them to know he was compassionate. He helped people and gave generously of his time and money. I only wish he could have shared more of his time with us.
I’ve missed not having him in our lives, and on this Father’s Day, I wanted to pay tribute to him. #Father’sDay.
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