Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
My Father. No matter what I said I was going to do, daddy never said, "you can't", he always said, "how you gonna do that?" When I talked to him, nothing was impossible.
I used to work for a large weekly newspaper and reported to the owner. I never had a title; the owner met with only a few people in the office, I met with him in his office everyday. When our chief editor wrote an article about the employees in our three offices, it was said that I headed up the main office. I was delighted because I did not know that. I cut the article and showed it to my dad, he kept the article posted in his barber shop window for almost one year. I first was pleased and finally embarrassed when the article started to turn yellow and curl from the sun, but I knew that he did it out of love and daddy-pride.
While dancing with my dad at my wedding, he said something to me that he would continue to say until he died in the early eighties. He told me that I could always come home. Knowing that I would probably never return home, but that I was welcome to return to open arms, I have been able to do whatever I set out to do. I recall a time when my dad started calling me and asking if I were o.k. I always assured him that I was fine. Then I would cry. Many years later I learned those calls were made because my ex borrowed a large sum of money from my dad. His reason? I had left unpaid bills. Untrue, but a sure way to get money from my dad. My dad would be proud to know I am debt-free. His generation was of the lay-a-way plan. Why charge it, when you can lay it away? He, nor my mom, ever knew that at one time I had more than 20 credit cards, mostly high-end stores. Hey, if you are going to be in debt anyway, why not high-end debt? I may have been a mommy and daddy's girl but I was not stupid, I never shared that information with them.
As I type this I can visualize my dad in his barbershop cutting hair. Four or five old men are sitting in front of the shop in straight-back chairs. They are lined up like birds on a wire, talking, drinking soda that dad sold for 45 cents a can and smoking Camel or Philip Morris cigarettes.
My dad could spin a wild tale so you never knew if he was telling the real truth or his truth. It's interesting, years later while going through his old papers I found out that some daddy's truths were often not as exciting as they were told, but they were truths. I found his Army discharge papers and was surprised to note how much he had accomplished. Perhaps he did not speak of this because he had such a bad time in Korea, he chose not to discuss the Army years. My mother once told me that my dad had terrible nightmares. I was surprised to hear that, I cried.
My father's passion was his small garden behind his shop. When he was in the hospital the last time, he placed a very small envelope in my hand. Later when I looked inside, I found two color slides of him in his beloved garden. Many years later I realized that he knew that his time was limited and the slides were his gift to me. I still miss him, I still have the slides. Every time I do something I am proud of, I miss him because I know he would be proud too. When I go to the New Jersey shore and stand on the balcony that overlooks the Atlantic ocean I smile, because I can imagine my dad standing, fishing pole in hand, fishing from the boardwalk or one of the jetty's.
Remembering daddy, my father.
Happy Father's Day everyone.