Friday, September 9, 2011

Remembering …

I know I could schedule a post to be published tomorrow, but I seldom blog on the weekends, so I'm not going to. Daddy died a year ago tomorrow. Today, I want to post a few pictures and publish a quote I found that says so much about him.
Dad grew up in southern
Ohio, along the river.

He got his pilot's license when I was 18, soon to be 19. I was in labor with my first child while he was taking his flight test. He was also on alert that day – May 4, 1970 – due to the riots and shootings at Kent State University.

Dad went as far in the Guard
as you could go without being
an officer. He retired as a Senior
Master Sergeant.
He'd made a career in the Ohio Air National Guard, but not as a pilot. He'd been fascinated by airplanes all his life (he took his first airplane ride when he was five, with a barnstormer, in southern Ohio). He was a mechanic in the Guard, and then an inflight air refueling technician and, finally, a recruiter.

During my childhood, we had a number of family hobbies: antique cars, camping and boating, horseback riding. When my siblings and I complained about the camping taking us away from our friends all summer, Dad sold the camper and boat, bought an airplane and learned to fly.

One of my favorite pictures:
Dad with his Pitts, a single-seat
homebuilt acrobatic plane.
We loved flying as a family hobby! Being at the airport was exciting and we met lots of interesting people. My daughter took her first airplane ride when she was only a few weeks old. I ended up getting my license when I was 29, which made Dad very proud.

Sometimes I think I could have been a better daughter. I never think he could have been a better father. I went through quite a bit of turmoil in my younger years, but he was always my champion and didn't ask too many questions. When he thought I needed advice he gave it, but wasn't upset if I didn't follow it.

I should have followed it, though. Heh.

Dad got sick in the summer of 2008, and almost died. He'd been living in Florida for many years by then, and we hadn't seen much of each other. That changed; I was in Florida half a dozen times at least, and last year he felt well enough to take a cruise with his wife in February and buy a motor home last summer.
John Young

Their excellent adventure in the RV lasted three weeks. I'm so glad they spent that last week with us. I know everything worked out the way it was supposed to. I still want to call him, though.

As I've written here before, Dad's legacy for me includes many health risk factors. I try to eat healthfully, but I'm not as active as I could be. I saw how Dad's weight and pain from diabetes limited his mobility, leading to more complications. I'm not immune.

The first year after a loved one's death is difficult, going through annual events without him, remembering things, wanting to talk again, wanting to see him. I hope I can turn this grief into something good. He'd like that.

When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.
~ Leonardo da Vinci


gingersnapper said...

That's a wonderful tribute, Debbi. What a remarkable man he was.

Mindy said...

Debbi - Your post is lovely. Your dad was quite an interesting guy. Sending you hugs to help you get through the next couple of days.

altopower said...

Thank you for sharing your dad with us. You have many wonderful memories with him - those pictures are great! Big hugs to you, my friend.

Shauna said...

Wow Debbi... your dad sounded like a wonderful man. Thinking of you and hoping are doing okay. Glad you were surrounded with good people this weekend xx

PS thanks to you i now know what a tailgate party is! :)