By My Father’s Sister, Feb. 18, 1982
Who is clever? Who is smart?
Whose neutrons originate from the heart?
who brightens our ordinary days
with whistling, quips, and
who repairs many things
from shattered glasses to broken wings?
who remembers formulas and
but knows what Tense wants him to do?
whose patience wears from time to time
because he’s sick or tired,
but always remains a gentle man,
by all his friends adored!
who dries my tears when dreams are bad?
Who understands my fears?
Who accepts my love of music,
Who never changes through the years?
My dad, that’s who –
No one in all the galaxies grew up with a dad like mine.
As the poem above states, there is no one like Dad. Call it a cliché line other daughters use for their fathers. Daddy is not a chemist, as the poem above hints about my Grandfather Dickinson, but the thoughts and heart behind the poem are the same.
Stories are told at dinner and card games about Dad’s legendary appetite. His strength, energy, and absolute undying love are the stuff of legend. At my son’s second birthday party Saturday, Dad’s sister mentioned how sick he was as a child with asthma and missed out on a lot. Once Dad reached adulthood, he was not missing out on anything.
Dad went on canoe trips, and loved to stay by the water. He dug in the sand next to the water and let sand slip through his fingers. He created large, “drippy sand castles.” He also made the biggest sand castles by using his hands as diggers. The deepest moat surrounded dad’s regular sand castles.
After a day on the beach, Dad is not truly at the beach until a bucket of steamed oysters sits in front of him. A boy’s grin appears on his face as he looks at the silver treasure chest of appetite joy.
When I was a baby, the lights went out in the restaurant. Dad had one huge bucket in front of him. He didn’t hesitate as wait staff worked to find out when the electricity would come back on. He reached in the bucket and began opening the oysters. A man turned on his flashlight, and a crowd gathered. They cheered him on like he was the star on Man vs. Food. He finished the entire bucket. Everyone thought he needed some type of award.
Stories about Dad could go on to create a 900,000 word novel. The most important part of Dad is his heart. Dad taught love and forgiveness through his own actions. At the end of his career as an insurance adjuster, Dad became a stay-at-home parent for my brother and me.
Mom always worked hard as a teacher, and suffered when she tried to become pregnant a second time. Hands on caregiver, Dad prepared my baths, laid out my clothes despite my family’s objections, and fixed meals.
Dad gave of himself to his church and to strangers. Some called him gullible. Mom said Dad and she saw life through rose-colored glasses.
I call Dad Superman.
When I began Sons of the Edisto six years ago—inspired by his father—Dad said, “We’ll see how well you stick to this project.”
Six years later, Dad says, “When are you sending it off (to an agent)?” It is his way of saying, “I want to see it make money” and “I support you in all endeavors.”
Again, in his actions, Dad drove me to Bamberg, South Carolina for my research and photos. On one occasion, he kept my son so I could drive to the South Carolinana Library for further research. Dad provided the stories to inspire the novel. Without his knowledge and support there wouldn’t be a Sons of the Edisto.
Without his love, I wouldn’t be me.