… Older Than My Dad !! WHOA!

Older Than My Dad
BobLee
August16/ 2020

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August 13, 2020

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… Older Than My Dad !!   WHOA!

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The audience demographics for this website have always skewed “BBoomer”… and “Almost BBoomers”.  But any/all ages and eras are welcomed.

With that in mind, today’s subject does not qualify me for a niche, a pedestal, or even a participation trophy.

Last week I joined that club of Men Who Have …. Outlived Their Fathers.  We have simply been fogging mirrors for more days, weeks, months, years than our Dads did. Father Son

It is all “quantity” and not “quality”… sheer number of days … not that we used our days to “achieve” as much or leave as indelible a mark as our Fathers may have.

Whether our respective fathers were “high achievers” or left indelible marks is as arbitrary as whether or not “we” have done so.

This is a gender-specific comparison.  My Mother lived to 93.  I have a ways to go to match her family mark.  Like Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripkin … “take’em one game at a time”.  Not sure I even want to.

My Mother – like many mothers – was a fount of “sayings”.  Pertinent to this discussion was the following “classic” said at 91 … “when I was 68, I bought a little black dress to wear to funerals and such.  If I had known I would get so much use out of it, I’da bought a nicer dress.”

My Mother buried THREE “bridge clubs”.

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We often measure Time by Events.  I always know how long it has been since my Dad died by the Roman numerals after Super Bowls.  I was at Super Bowl II in Miami – Packers vs Raiders – when he passed away – January 1968.

My Dad had a debilitating stroke in August ’67 leaving him unable to communicate.  You always wish you “had 5 more minutes” when you lose a loved one, but – fortunately – with my Dad and I there were no fences to mend … no “I’m so sorry …” wounds to heal either way.

My Dad was – by all measures – a Very Good Father … and, heck,  I was “a good Son”.  I appreciate that such is not always the case.

It’s been over a half century since … … I never had a man-to-man talk with my Dad.  I had not reached “manhood” chronologically or psychologically when he died.  I did not yet “know the questions” to have appreciated his “answers”.  Especially that one about Life ain’t Fair.

I always figured when I got to THAT question at whatever age, Dad woulda smiled … patted me on the shoulder and said –

“No, Son.  it isn’t.  Some folks never figure that one out.  Good for you that you have.”

Many the times, especially in my 20-30s, I wished for his counsel as regards career directions.  There was a rough patch in my early 30s when I kept “zigging” when obviously a “zag” was called for – DUH!.  Insert “headslap” …

Would I have taken his advice?  If so … would that “road not taken” have led me to Blondie and Kid and “Pastor Danny” and ReRe and YaYa and Baby Danny … and to You Guys and Gals ??? 

NOTE:  Acknowledging that I am basically an antisocial smart aleck SOB … the cyber “friendship” I have with many of you is darn near perfect.

That such a bizarre techno-universe exists for us to share is a blessing I cherish.

“Do Overs” in Life come with a price.  Everything after the “do over” changes.  Sure you can say “If I just bought 100 shares of Apple at …” – or – “If I had gone to Law School” – or – “If I had kept that ’79 Olds Cutlass …”.  

Outlived My Dad

If George Bailey had jumped off that bridge on the snowy night … how would all those lives in Bedford Falls have been different?

NOTE:  Since most of you reading this are “BBoomers” I don’t have to explain that “George Bailey / Bedford Falls” analogy … do I?

If my Dad had been “my Clarence” might he have advised “Stay the course Son … it’ll all be OK.  Trust me …”  I like to think that has been the case.

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Of all the people I have encountered over the years and to what degree I really “knew” them.  My Dad LOVED his two chosen careers more than anyone I can imagine.

My Dad was living proof that NOT ALL Men … lead lives of quiet desperation.

My Dad grew up literally “across the street” from my Mother in Kinston.  Between them they had 7-8 brothers and sisters.

He served in both World Wars I and II.  In the Army Artillery in France in WWI and “building The Burma Road” in WWII.  Like many Fathers & Sons, we never spoke much about all that.  He was not in direct one-on-one combat but I’m sure there were “experiences”.

He was career Army retiring as a Bird Colonel shortly after I was born.  From all accounts he loved “being in The Army”. I think it was the camaraderie … the “Band of Brothers” thing. Outlived My Dad

My Dad was “a Hail Fellow Well Met”.  I recall meeting men who served with and under him and the sincere respect that they had for “The Colonel”.

When Kinston celebrated its Bicentennial in 1962, my Dad was asked to head the Planning Committee.  He loved his Home Town.  He was The Perfect Choice.

His second career was as a Land Surveyor for 25+ years.  He was self-employed with his “crew”… working out of our house.  That picture up top is at his desk where he drew his maps … after being out in the field all day with his “instrument” and chains.  Waaaay before lasers and computers.

I think he loved “being outdoors” and “the exactness” of the profession.  “Close” was not good enough.Outlived My Dad

He never “retired” … still going out in the field the day before he had his stroke.

“They say” my Dad was “the best there was” at what he did / surveying.  Even today… maps all across Eastern NC that have his name on them are deemed accurate “to the inch”.  He was known for his Honesty and Integrity… personally and professionally.

He taught Jr Hi Boys Sunday School at First Baptist Church for 20+ years.  Handing out silver dollars when a boy could recite The Books of The Bible.  I learned years later how many “men” still had those silver dollars.

Dad was not perfect.  There was his pack/a/day Old Golds unfiltered … and the nightly “Seagrams Seven” … and probably assorted “guy stuff” that he never got around to sharing.  Probably for the best for all concerned.

We were not “wealthy”.  My Dad was not “a mover/shaker” but he was “a City Father”.  He never ran for public office but he was regularly consulted for his opinion as “city officials” plotted the present and future of his Home Town.

Are there still such animals in America as “City Fathers / Mothers”?  Are there “city fathers / city mothers” these days … in Portland and Seattle and Chicago and New York et al? … sigh.

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I apologize if this was “too personal”.  I intended to share these thoughts to stir similar thoughts for you about your parents.  Regardless of your circumstances, I hope there are “good memories”.

Obviously my Dad never “knew” Blondie, Kid, “Pastor Danny”, Ruthie, Scout and Baby Danny.  They never knew him.

I like to think that buried in amongst all the accumulated flotsam and jetsam that is “Me” that there is “Some of Him” that might seep thru on occasion.  Maybe in the above words …

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More of BobLeeSays – Click Here!

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Wasss happenin’ over at SAIDWHAT? – Click Here.

.Outlived My Dad

 

 

 

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Leroy Rogers
Leroy Rogers
1 month ago

So… your pop smoked Winstons?

fayettewuf
fayettewuf
1 month ago

Interesting column. I was noting how many relatives whose lifespans I have exceeded. My daddy and his daddy did not live as long as I have. What it really made me remember was, when I was 10 years old, my grandaddy died. As I laid awake after I was told, it occurred to me that my daddy had lost his daddy and that one day I would lose mine. I was devastated. I often wish I had told daddy that I realized what an influence he had been on me.

DM Carpenter
DM Carpenter
1 month ago

BobLee:
Splendid piece on your Dad, and your relationship. I am thankful that my folks are still around and about at 84 and 79, still living in Raleigh. They come up every month or so. My kids get to see them, learn things, and make memories. My in-laws live here, on the farm, so the kids get a double dose.
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Now, you have me thinking about my Maternal Grandfather, who passed when I was Five. My son is him, just about 6 inches taller, and going.
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Thanks, memories are wonderful things.

James Gaster
1 month ago

Going to be hard to outlive my Dad, in his 80s and living life on his terms. I did keep the 65 mustang, it’s sitting in the garage, no time or money to do it right, but I can’t bring myself to let it go. Sometimes I miss being young and dumb, as opposed to being old & stupid.

Doug
Doug
1 month ago

A warm and poignant tribute to your dad. After the third reading I decided “my mother buried THREE bridge clubs” merits honorable mention. When daddy died at 93 in 2016 there were maybe two people close to his age at the service.
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Blessed that all three of his grandchildren knew and adored him and my mom who died at 85. I’ve learned something I didn’t expect would happen and my parents never explained….When we have children and grandchildren we get a chance to “grow” again.

Doug
Doug
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

Mom & dad were both “with it” until the end. Mom went out of her way to order me and made me promise to NEVER hook her up to any life prolonging machine. Little did I know then that 10 years later I would actually have to make that decision for her. I kept my promise.

Last edited 1 month ago by Doug
RowdyBlueTarHeeler
RowdyBlueTarHeeler
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

check out “The Portable Kerouac” by Ann Charters for some background, organization, and highlights.
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Also, this posting of yours makes my top 5, easily!

Edward
1 month ago

A few years ago you wrote an article ( RALEIGH MAGAZINE ? ) about pier fishing with your Dad ,Atlantic beach area . It was the first time I had read one of your columns. It was very good .

Edward
1 month ago

When was your Dad born? He must have been very young during WW1 ! Great post

Ruth
1 month ago

This is so great! Yes, it did bring back memories of my father and how I wish I could just talk to him one more time. I do remember your father well. By the way you truly do resemble him. I remember his kindness to my father and how much my father thought of him. This article is outstanding and so was the article on “The Bircher’s.” Keep up the great work.

Queen City
Queen City
1 month ago

Loved this! Just out of curiosity what was your Dad’s path into the Army? Did he voluntarily enlist? I assume he had retired from the service if you were born in Kinston.

Dudley Moore
1 month ago

BL, I too had a wonderful father, and I was fortunate to have him until his mid eighties. I’m sad that your terrific dad died so young. Your column reminded me of how fortunate some of us are in the parents that fate gives us (me in particular), and reminded me to count my blessings. . On another note, I realize you and I will seldom agree politically, although I believe we are both lifelong Republicans. However, your decision to pop in a political comment: “Are there ‘city fathers / city mothers’ these days … in Portland and Seattle and… Read more »

MC in Goldsboro
MC in Goldsboro
1 month ago

Thanks for the column about your dad. We are dealing with the after-effects of a stroke with my dad now, coupled with my mom’s dementia. For what it’s worth, I think your “too personal” columns (this one, pier fishing, etc.) are some of your best. Keep up the good work.

MC in Goldsboro
MC in Goldsboro
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

PDEW’s is another favorite of mine. (I’ve been married to a couple of them.)

NCSU 77
NCSU 77
1 month ago

Your columns are alway enjoyable to read. This one, in particular, resonated with me. . I passed the milestone of being older than my father twenty seven years ago. Daddy died at forty in 1963; I was ten. As I got older, I was convinced I probably wouldn’t live much past forty myself. After I hit 41, things didn’t look the same. I had some how made past the imaginary line. . I used to try and image Daddy at age fifty, sixty, etc. He’d be 97 now. . In a way, he saved my life in 2014. He died… Read more »

DaddyMac
1 month ago

Well written…we all have those times when we wished we had the opportunity to ask a question of their father, mother or sibling, but alas time and circumstances prevent it.
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Yeah, your dad was quite a guy. Didn’t he design the Kinston flag for the bicentennial?

MPW
MPW
1 month ago

Well Done! I wish I could have had that last conversation with my Dad! They were all the men that we wish for now!
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Kinston became it’s best when they were all in charge.

Charlotte Wuffie
Charlotte Wuffie
1 month ago

Thanks for sharing BobLee. I enjoyed the read. It brings back some fond family memories.

Tilden Martin
1 month ago

You resemble your Dad. As you have fond memories of Kinston, I do of Oxford. Sue and I often say we wish our kids and grand kids could have grown up in the environment that we did.
I’ve now out lived everyone in my Father’s family except his mother; she has me by two years. Good article , many of yours bring back fond memories.

The Other BL
The Other BL
1 month ago

I have fond memories of both of your parents. I so enjoyed this as I know also how much it would have meant to both of us for our fathers to have known our children and grandchildren and the impact that they would have had on both and vice versa. Sadly, I passed my father’s age 11 days after my 43rd birthday. Thankfully, Mother lived 5 months after her 90th. She died 50 years and one week to the day after being widowed. I might get mad with God if I don’t make it to at least 90!! So therefore,… Read more »

Willie T Classof 65
Willie T Classof 65
1 month ago

Thanks for sharing and taking me back to remember my Mom and Dad while growing up in Kinston.. Your Father died way too early but his legacy will live on with your friends, classmates and your family. I salute “The Colonel” from another younger Colonel!

Lobo90
1 month ago

Downright poignant. Thx for sharing so eloquently!

Darien
Darien
1 month ago

My Dad was land surveyor too. He was also precise. 😀

Darien
Darien
1 month ago
Reply to  BobLee

I loved working with him. Wish I could do it one more time!

M.B.
1 month ago

Nice one BL. If I make it two more years I will pass my father as well. Richard has already done that.

LRP
LRP
1 month ago

BL, I enjoyed your last two columns as much as any you have written over the years – About Your Dad and about The John Birchers … both reminded me so much of my Dad. Thanks

MMF
MMF
1 month ago

Great photo op of your dad. He was always soooo nice to me as was your mama. He was a special guy, as just about every dad seemed to be in Ktown. I can see him now standing at his wk bench working away. I did not know he died so young cuse after I left, I rarely came home and I was not reading the obits in 1968. Just yesterday afternoon I shaved and put on some Old Spice that I have owned for maybe 20-30 yrs. Missy came into the bathroom and axed me what is that smell?… Read more »

CK.Kinston
1 month ago

Thanks for sharing the personal memories regarding you Father. I met him only briefly by way of my aunt, Anne Laura Edwards. A fine gentleman.
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Have a great week.

Joco Bob
Joco Bob
1 month ago

Good read and I expect others here of our similar ages will relate well. I rarely hear that term “Bird Colonel” any more but have known a couple who reached that level and it always seemed to me they got more respect from their “men” than did the ones who made those next steps up that ladder. Indeed I did have some of those conversations with my father who lived to 91, but even with that right now I wish had asked him about his life more and most importantly be able to get advice from someone who would tell… Read more »

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