The Stricklin Mindset List

Every Fall, Beloit College produces what they’ve come to call the Beloit College Mindset List, a list of popular culture and historical references that demonstrate the incoming freshmen class’ mindset, having grown up when they did. For example, those born in 1987 and entering college this year have never known a day when the federal budget was less than a trillion dollars, Andy Warhol, Liberace, Jackie Gleason, and Lee Marvin have always been dead, and Iran and Iraq have never been at war with each other.

You get the idea.

So, today, in honor of my 46th birthday, I thought I’d give you a glimpse into what has happened since I was born.

  • I remember when homes only had one television, and it was huge!
  • I remember when televisions only came in black and white.
  • I remember watching the Ed Sullivan and the Red Skelton shows.
  • I remember seeing the Vietnam War every night on the evening news.
  • I remember seeing Neil Armstrong land on the moon.
  • I remember watching the (war) draft on television.
  • I remember the years between the end of the draft and the beginning of the Selective Service.
  • I remember when cable and satellite television for the home was unheard of.
  • I remember when HBO first became available.
  • I remember exactly where I was when President Nixon resigned.
  • I remember the Challenger exploding.
  • I remember voting for Reagan. Twice. Fondly.
  • I remember the fall of Siagon.
  • I remember the Iranian hostage crisis.
  • I remember disco. Not fondly.
  • I remember when John Lennon was shot.
  • I remember when the Beatles were still together.
  • I remember the Banana Splits.
  • I remember Tang.
  • I remember when white men in Shreveport used the slur “nigger” in open conversation. (To be clear, I’m not saying that’s a good thing, I’m saying I remember it happening, and it’s something I hated then and I hate now.)
  • I remember when there were no black children in my class.
  • I remember hearing something about what happened at Chappaquiddick, but being 9 at the time, didn’t care much.
  • Sadly, pretty much the same thing for Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy.
  • I remember being stunned with news of the People’s Temple suicides.
  • I remember begging to watch Batman at the dinner table.
  • For that matter, I remember when everyone in the family ate dinner together, and no television was allowed.
  • I remember when calling someone “gay” meant he was a particularly happy individual.
  • I remember when every guy I knew had a copy of Farrah Fawcett’s poster on his wall. I remember why, too.
  • I remember when porn was shown only in theatres downtown, in the seedy parts of downtown.
  • I remember when Superman, Star Trek and Star Wars all opened.
  • I remember actually being impressed with their special effects.
  • I remember not even knowing who Bill Clinton was, when he was the governor of a state that’s less than 30 minutes North of where I grew up.
  • I remember hearing about how bad our neighbor’s daughter was because she smoked pot!
  • I remember when we could get two gallons of gasoline for under $1.
  • I remember when my first car cost $5,000. New!
  • I remember the lines around the service stations and rationing because gasoline cost $0.94 a gallon (About $3.08 in 2016 dollars.)
  • I remember Jimmy Carter’s pep-talk to the nation.
  • I remember when the Macintosh was first introduced.
  • I remember playing Zork on an Apple IIc.
  • I remember when my hair reached the middle of my shoulder blades.

So you see, I’ve been around for an old man. Here’s hoping I stay around for a few more interesting things.

Paul Taylor (1960-2006)

I mourn the loss of childhood friend, Paul Taylor.

Paul was only a few months older than I, and he lived just over my backyard fence when I was in junior high and high school. He was the proverbial archetype of the “tough guy with a heart made of gold.” Even at 14, he shaved, and smoked, and drank and rode a motorcycle.

We became friends when David, my best friend even today, moved away to Houston. We would spend afternoons in his smoke-filled house, listening to records and playing our own music. Often we’d drive around the neighborhood in his old Fold Fairlane looking for something to do, and nearly without exception he drive in arcs across the local park’s parking lot so fast it’d nearly tip the car over, on my side!

During those years, I progressed from smoking Swisher Sweets to nearly 2 packs of Marlboro a day when he realized the reason I’d taken up smoking was to emulate him. Suddenly, one day when he and I walked around our neighborhood he suddenly stopped, grabbed the pack of cigarettes from my shirt pocket, tore them in half, stood inches away from my face and swore to me that if he found me smoking again, he’d beat the snot out of me. And no, he didn’t use the word ‘snot’, I did.

In the decades since, I’ve lit up a cigarette only twice.

At school, he and I spent a great deal of time and thought concerning the young women in our classes. In high school, he began dating Pam, a girl who’d run afoul of my girlfriend at the time. They married, and started their family right away. Paul dropped out of school to support them. Some time later, because of our mutual love for Paul, Pam and I settled our differences, which it turned out wasn’t that hard because neither of us could remember the root cause in the first place.

When I returned home after serving in the Gulf War in 1991, I visited with Paul and his family, giving t-shirts and trinkets to his children, Rachel and James. They were very young and small then… both of them are fully-grown now.

Paul and I met a few years ago at Murrell’s for a cup of coffee and conversation. I found out that the pinging sound on my home’s rotating exhaust fans that had driven my Dad crazy had been caused by Paul sitting on his back porch, pellet rifle in hand, shooting away and trying not to give away his position with laughter. I also found out that his marriage to Pam seemed to be ending. Shortly, his prediction came true.

Some time later, I received an announcement in the mail that Paul was marrying again, to a woman named Roxanna, and subsequent phone conversations proved to me that he was very, very happy.

I’ve been intending to call and visit, but as with many relationships, if you don’t make the time, the time slips away from you. Tuesday morning, Pam called me, got my answering machine, and because she wasn’t sure of my voice, ended the call. She called again later and told me the news: Paul had laid down along side his van at work and passed away. The speculation was that it was a heart attack.

I’m thankful that Paul didn’t suffer long. I’m thankful he was a friend when I needed one. I’m thankful he stopped me from becoming addicted to cigarettes. I’m thankful he taught me how to play the drums. More that those things, I’m thankful for all the times he made me laugh. He was a good man, and a good friend, and he will be sorely missed.

Meet Sammie & Alex

I suppose it’s time to introduce my readers to my two cats, Sammie (short for Samantha) on the right below and Alex (short for Alexander) on the left.

Sammie is about 4 or 5 years old, and a tortie (having a tortoise-shell appearance.) She belonged to my former fiancé, and her youngest daughter was concerned that I might be lonely after the breakup, so Sammie came to live with me.

Alex was left on a co-worker’s front doorstep when he was just a day or two old. He has a gray coat with a splash of white fur on his breast. I adopted him after my co-worker asked me to.

Some interesting notes about these two:

  • Alex was originally named “Ally” — a play on “Alley” as in “Alley Cat”, since she thought Alex was really a girl cat.
  • Sammie has a foot fetish, rubbing against and lightly biting my bare feet anytime they’re exposed, especially when I first get out of the shower.
  • Alex is a climber, always has been. When he was just a kitten, he used to jump and climb up the side of my slacks and shirts until he was perched on my shoulders. He would frequently climb up dressers, the refrigerator and shelves.
  • Sammie frequently stretches or cleans herself, then seems to forget to bring her tongue totally inside.
  • Alex likes to smell things with his mouth partially open, then leaves it that way for several moments.
  • Both Alex and Sammie “chatter” when they see birds outside.
  • Both are afraid of the vacuum cleaner and plastic bags.
  • Sammie picks up her toys with her claws and flings them against the walls.
  • Alex can sometimes be found sleeping on the floor underneath the bedspread, or on the bed itself under the comforter.
  • Alex used to climb up inside the back of the couch and go to sleep.
  • Sammie frequently lays across my legs and wrists, as if she’s trying to tell me to stop blogging.
  • Alex goes to sleep against the pillow beside me or curled up against my side. Sammie goes to sleep at my feet or between the legs.
  • Alex cannot be let into the bathroom because he’ll destroy the toilet paper and drag the bath mat all over the apartment.
  • Alex frequently runs ahead of me, lies down and stretches out, fully expecting me to rub his tummy.
  • Alex can sometimes be found lying on the carpet, on his back.
  • Alex will stick his arms and paws underneath the bathroom door and try to claw anything that moves.
  • Sammie actually kisses me, putting her lips against mine when she wants to show affection.

They’re my buddies, and I love taking care of them.

100 Things About Me

Updated and modified a bit since my February 26th, 2005 pseudo-anonymous list

  1. My given name is actually Charles.
  2. I don’t publish my surname because I don’t care for people in the real world Googling for me and thus reading my blog. I’m sure the more industrious and Internet-savvy of you out there could easily put two and two together, I just don’t want to make it any easier than I have to.
  3. The nickname ‘Twidget’ is actually military slang meaning “a military enlisted person whose job primarily involves using or maintaining electronics.”
  4. I took the term as my nickname because I used to be a ‘twidget’.
  5. I spent five and a half years as an enlisted person in the U.S. Navy (December 2, 1987 – July 26, 1993).
  6. I actually remember those dates.
  7. My rating was a Data Systems Technician (DS).
  8. That rating no longer exists, it was combined, along with several other technical ratings, into Electronics Technician after my discharge.
  9. I spent two months in Boot Camp and the Recruit Training Command in San Diego, California. It was closed in 1995.
  10. After boot camp, I spent a year at DS “A” and “C” schools at CSTSC at Mare Island Naval Station in Vallejo, California. Mare Island was closed in 1996. (Beginning to see a pattern here?)
  11. The highest rank I ever achieved was that of Petty Officer Third Class.
  12. The chevrons petty officers wear on the sleeves of their uniforms are more often called “crows”, because of the perched eagles at the top.
  13. I enlisted in the Navy under a program called “advanced enlistment” where, if I enlisted for six year’s duty instead of the usual four, I’d receive a year and a half of electronics training and be advanced to the rank of E-4.
  14. Thus, I was called a “push-button crow.”
  15. My NEC involved Link 11, a technology that took all the tracks in my ship’s combat systems computer, encrypted the data, turned them into frequencies or tones, broadcast them over radio waves, then in turn receiving other Link 11 capable ships, planes and such’s broadcast data and reversing the process. This effectively created a computer network involving military vessels spreading over hundreds of miles. So, in effect, I was there to maintain and repair, when necessary, a huge modem.
  16. While in the Navy, the only ship that I was billeted to was the U.S.S. Worden (CG-18), a destroyer that was upgraded to a light-cruiser in the 1970s.
  17. On Monday, October 19th, 1990 at latitude 00000 and longitude 105° 17′ E, my crewmates and I were found qualified to be numbered as one of King Neptunus Rex’s honored shellbacks and duly initiated into the Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of Shellbacks. Doing so also added 2 points to every advancement exam I would take afterwards.
  18. While on the Worden, I served in a war (Desert Shield/Desert Storm), 2 West Pacs, 1 Midshipmen’s cruise, and 1 LEO.
  19. While in the Navy, I traveled to the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii; to the United States territory of Guam; to the countries of Australia, Canada, Mexico, British Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka; and the Arab Emirates Bahrain, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi.
  20. I got to know Bahrain and Singapore as well as my hometown of Shreveport.
  21. I was nominated by my Divisional Chief Petty Officer for a NAM prior to my 2nd deployment to the Arabian Gulf for completely overhauling a piece of equipment during the previous deployment.
  22. The last time I took the advancement exam, I missed being advanced to 2nd Class Petty Officer by 0.001 of a point.
  23. I was later recommended to the Captain for advancement.
  24. Sometime during my 2nd deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, while also serving my first of two tours as a mess attendant, I began an upgrade on the Worden’s SSM-4A (Link-4A equipment used to coordinate aircraft’s vectoring). To this day, I don’t remember what happened, but I must’ve started the upgrade, gotten involved with something else and forgot all about it. While spending 12 hours a day making coffee and salad, washing dishes and swabbing decks, I was still expected to do all of my preventative maintenance on my equipment. I must’ve signed off on a preventative maintenance procedure on the equipment I’d begun the upgrade on, but never completed. In Navy slang, this is called “gun decking.”
  25. I’m not proud of myself for that. And, I do not remember doing it, but that’s no excuse.
  26. I was taken to Captain’s Mast for dereliction of duty. With perfect 4.0 evaluations up to this point and being the most senior 3rd class on the ship with no trouble before this, and falling on the mercy of the Captain, I’d expected maybe a “suspended bust” where I’d be reduced in rank for 6 months, restricted to the ship for that period and being given back my rank and privileges once the time was completed. I was instead reduced in rank to an E-3 (Seaman).
  27. Another Petty Officer, who’d helped me in the overhaul and a new Divisional Chief Petty Officer, who hadn’t even been there when we did the overhaul, received the NAM I’d been nominated for. It would’ve been worth an additional 2 points on every advancement exam I would’ve taken from that point onward.
  28. Needless to say, I was pretty pissed off.
  29. The Worden was scheduled to be decommissioned upon the end of my 2nd deployment. When an enlisted member’s EAOS coincides with their ship being decommissioned, the serviceperson may request an early discharge rather than having that serviceperson be transferred to their next duty, then being discharged, So, I got out 6 months early.
  30. People ask me about my feeling for the Navy now. I tell them, “It was just like high school: I had good times, I had bad times; overall, I’m glad I did it but you could not pay me enough to go back and do it all again.”
  31. Did I mention that I was honorably discharged? No? Well, I was.
  32. On Saturday, June 17, 2000 the Worden was sunk in water over 14,000 feet deep and more than 50 miles South of the island of Oahu, where she and I had been home-ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This made it official: every single command I ever served at has since been decommissioned!
  33. I’ve just realized that I’ve spent a third of my list of 100 things writing exclusively about my years in service to my country. I’m sorry if it bores you, but it obviously made an enormous impact on me.
  34. I’m male (in case you haven’t figured that out, or if you’ve been listening to Jennifer.)
  35. I was born May 5, 1960. That makes me 44 at the time of this writing.
  36. I’ve been 6 feet tall ever since high school.
  37. I currently weigh about 260 pounds.
  38. I’ve worn glasses ever since the 6th grade. One day, I’ll get Lasik surgery to correct my near-sightedness.
  39. I’m a Christian.
  40. I’m heterosexual.
  41. I’m pro-life.
  42. Decades ago I took a Mensa-proctored intelligence test that measured my I.Q. at 139, making me eligible to join them, but I never have.
  43. I never did well in school.
  44. I’ve been diagnosed as hypertensive.
  45. I’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
  46. I suffer from depression.
  47. I am obsessive-compulsive.
  48. I probably have always had ADD.
  49. I grew up less than two miles from where I currently live.
  50. I graduated in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration majoring in from Mississippi State University.
  51. I’ve only voted for one Democrat in my life: Bill Clinton; a badge of shame I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
  52. I have two housemates: Samantha/Sammie, a female “tortie” I inherited from the breakup with my ex-fiancé and Alexander/Alex, who a co-worker rescued and I later adopted.
  53. My first cat was a sweet Burmese named Smokey. He is still my favorite.
  54. I’m right-handed.
  55. I’m a baritone.
  56. I own every (legitimate) Steely Dan CD ever produced.
  57. I’ve never been married or lived with a women, but I came close.
  58. I smoked a joint the night before I went to see the Navy recruiter.
  59. My dad passed away several years ago.
  60. I only have one sibling, an older sister named Sharon.
  61. I hate having to shave.
  62. I couldn’t grow a decent moustache or beard if my life depended on it.
  63. I tend to get involved with women that are no good for me.
  64. I have no piercings or tattoos.
  65. I snore, apparently.
  66. I hate to wake up.
  67. My idea of the perfect vacation is to stay in bed, never shower or shave, and sleep when I feel like it.
  68. I’m lonely, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
  69. I wouldn’t pass my own standards for size and attractiveness I require of women I date.
  70. But my ex-fiancé taught me that I shouldn’t lower my standards just because that’s a double-standard.
  71. My favorite meal is Blackened Salmon Alexander with dirty rice, French bread, a salad with Ranch dressing and Shiner Bock from Pappadeaux.
  72. My second favorite would have to be Chicken Scaloppini from Johnny Carino’s.
  73. I drive better in the middle of the night and the early morning than I do in the afternoon.
  74. I’d rather be too hot than too cold.
  75. The first thing I look at on a woman is her hair. If she takes care of her hair and styles it well, it speaks volumes.
  76. The second thing would have to be her breasts. Yep, I’m a breast man.
  77. Generally I prefer larger to smaller. Although small can be nice. It’s really all about shape.
  78. A woman’s flat tummy and the nape of her neck are big turn-ons for me.
  79. If I could date any celebrity, the only name that instantly comes to mind is Jennifer Connelly .
  80. I smoked two packs of Marlboro red in high school, and gave them up cold turkey.
  81. I talk way too much and about things I ought not.
  82. I love lean, large, juicy filet mignon.
  83. I also love Waffle House in the middle of the night.
  84. In high school, I was a draftsman.
  85. I’ve also been a waiter, a head waiter and an assistant manager.
  86. My favorite ice creams are Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, Ben & Jerry’s Brownie Batter, Ben & Jerry’s One Sweet Whirled (sadly, no longer available) and Godiva Belgian Dark Chocolate.
  87. My taste in music ranges from Bach to They Might Be Giants.
  88. I spend an inordinate amount of time talking about anything but WordPress in #wordpress.
  89. I’ve blogged using Blogger, Movable Types and WordPress.
  90. I’d rather listen to Glenn Beck and Mark Davis than Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
  91. My shoe size is 12 wide.
  92. My favorite color would probably be forest green.
  93. Briefs.
  94. I’ve memorized many Monty Python scenes.
  95. My favorite authors are Tom Clancy, Douglas Adams and Bill Hybels. (How’s that for eclectic?
  96. No, I won’t tell you when I lost my virginity, only that it did, indeed, happen.
  97. If I could’ve chosen any other career for myself, I’d either be a musician/singer/songwriter or a college history professor.
  98. To this day, I still fold my underwear and t-shirts. See number 9 and 47.
  99. I flail all over the bed when I sleep, except when Sammie and/or Alex pin my legs down.
  100. This list was easier to make than I thought it would be.

Are you Cajun?

How to tell a full-blooded, dipped-in-the-bayou Cajun from someone who just wishes he was.

1. Did your grandmother regularly eat couche-couche for breakfast?
2. Does your father consider a six-pack of beer and a pound of boudin to be a seven-course meal?
3. Does your grandmother bellyache all week long – until Saturday, when she steps out with the best of them cutting a fine two-step?
4. If the doctor told you coffee causes cancer, would you rather take your chances than do without it?
5. Could you paddle a pirogue 20 miles an hour down a straight stretch of stump-free bayou?
6. Is there a Tee-Jean, a Tee-Man or a Tee-Boy among your uncles?
7. Have you always called your uncle by his “Tee” name – and forgotten his real one?
8. Are you related to your next-door neighbor?
9. Does someone in your family know how to treat sunstroke, the “waste-away sickness” or “Indian fire”?
10. Can you remember when you hated to tell strangers you’d eaten crawfish for dinner because it was inelegant and everybody knew only Cajuns ate crawfish?
11. Look closely at the wedding photograph of your grandmother. Was he bridal bouquet made of crepe paper?
12. If someone stepped on your toe, would you instinctively yell “Oh. Yee-Yii!” instead of “Ouch!”?

Scoring guide:

Give yourself one point for every “yes” answer.

10-12 Full-blooded Cajun, 24 karat.
7-9 Can’t be considered a real Cajun, and it is understandable that you may be wrestling with the pains of an identity crisis.
0-6 Not even in the ball game.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad

Today, for the very first time in my life, I celebrate Father’s Day without a father. My dad passed away last April after a long illness, so it is only fitting that I remember him on this special day.

Walter Harold Stricklin was born August 26th, 1920 on a farm a few miles northeast of Detroit, Texas to Walter Davis and Maude Beatrice Stricklin. He grew up with his older brothers Leo and James, and later his younger sister, Ester Maude, in Northeast Texas during the Great Depression, working on farms and oil fields in the area. On June 3rd, 1941, he graduated with an Associates Degree from North Texas Agricultural College (now the University of Texas at Arlington.)

For a little over a year after graduation, he helped his parents work the farm, hauled cotton to the Gin, and dug stock tanks and oil field slush pits. During a stint as a roustabout for Continental Oil Company he met and later married a slender beauty by the name of Miss Audra Obinelle Graham. Two weeks after the wedding, he was drafted into World War II, serving in the Army Air Corp.

During the war he maintained and repaired aircraft, stationed in England prior to D-Day and following the troops into Europe afterwards. He was on a troop transport heading to the Pacific when word of the Japanese surrender reached him, and the ship continued back to the States instead.

After his military service, he and his bride moved to Shreveport, Louisiana and began working as a purchasing agent for Superior Ironworks and Supply Company. Their first child, Sharon Ann, arrived in 1954 and I was born in 1960.

My earliest memories of my dad were of his evening routine: he would read the paper and watch the evening news until dinner was ready at 6:30 P.M., we would all have dinner with very little conversation and absolutely no television, dad would return to the couch where he would often sleep, paper over his torso, until 10:00 P.M. when he would watch the local news, then the television would again be turned off as everyone went to bed. My dad would be up early in the morning and off to work, even before I’d woken up to get ready for school.

I would later learn that this part of his life was a humiliating, depressing gray period, where he was consistently passed over for promotions and not paid very well. Still, I never went to bed hungry, I always had clothes to wear, I received a good education and I only had one bedroom my entire childhood. My dad did what he had to do because he had a family to provide for.

After being forced to take an early retirement, my dad worked part-time for Enterprise Rent-a-Car as a driver. He would wake up early in the morning, meet several of his also-retired co-workers and drive vehicles all over the southern states. He loved his job and the travel it required, and he was the happiest I’ve ever seen him. He lost much of his excess weight and was full of life and energy.

That all changed the day a nurse called, informing him of his enrollment in a Diabetes management course. Although many diagnosed with Type II Diabetes today go on to lead full, healthy lives, to my dad and many of his generation, the illness seemed like a death sentence.

The remaining six years he shrunk into his “cave” as we came to refer to his bedroom. He would sleep all day and keep my mom awake all night crying out and moaning. The drugs used to treat depression caused nightmares and disorientation, and were generally worse than the symptoms. He broke off contact with family and friends, and he broke my heart when he was too ill to travel to and attend my long-postponed college graduation.

The last time we all gathered as a family was last Thanksgiving. Dad, Mom and I went over to Sharon’s home to have turkey and dressing with she and her husband Frank, and their son Matthew, as well as another family they are friendly with. I recall thinking to myself how sad it seemed, my dad unable to follow or join conversations because of his failing eyesight and hearing, my mom and Sharon having to cut his food for him, and I specifically remember having to point out to Mom to clean his nose. Still, it was good that he was able to be there.

A few days later, while out of town, I learned that he had had several small strokes. Mom, Sharon and myself had Christmas by ourselves, while Dad was in the hospital for observations.

After returning home, he generally worsened, eventually entering hospice care and suffering several more small strokes. His appetite waned, and then he stopped eating altogether. He was winding down.

Sharon recalls having some funny, loony conversations with him where he seemed to be re-living parts of his life in real-time, sending her off to drilling platforms and the like. Then, he stopped talking.

I was working in Pineville, Louisiana the Thursday, April 24th when I got a call from Sharon. We had agreed that I should continue working as normal because it was so difficult to know when the end was near. She was exhausted after dealing with his convulsions earlier that morning. Sharon said she wasn’t sure if it was approaching, but I sensed it was, dropped everything I was doing and raced the two and a half hours back to Shreveport to be at his side.

Over the next several hours, Mom, Sharon, Frank, Matthew and myself moved in and out of his presence, letting him know we were there and saying our goodbyes. In his own home, in his own bedroom, surrounded by the people he loved and who loved him, he quietly passed away.

My dad and I weren’t all that close while I was growing up. How stupidly universal it seems, that all children distance themselves from their parents. When I was a teenager, and knowing everything like all teenagers seem to believe, I began calling him “father” since I didn’t like or respect him enough to call him my “dad”. He would later sign his letters addressed to me as “Father”, a clear indication now of how much it hurt his feelings to be thought of this way. I curse at myself now at my insolence and insensitivity!

Still, we had some good memories; when I was 13, he bought me my first pair of boots, obviously some sort of transplanted-Texas sort of rite-of-passage thing. When I was 27, and in the early morning fog he drove me to the local MEPS where I would begin my enlistment in the Navy. Uncharacteristically, he hugged me, told me he loved me and how proud he was of me. While I returned to college after a decade-long hiatus, I learned that he bragged about his son in college to anyone and everyone who would stand still long enough to tell.

Sometime after my own wartime experiences, I began to reexamine our relationship and realized that I was, in many ways, exactly like my dad. I too, was opinionated. I too, was stubborn. I too, was balding and putting on too much weight. Most of all, I too talked too much.

After I began to look at my father through the filter of age and experience, I saw that, despite our few differences and disagreements, he was a generally decent and honorable man. I began to call him “dad” again, and piece-by-piece, brick-by-brick, I began to disassemble the wall that I had formed between us. I think ultimately, with God’s guidance, I was able to accomplish that.

My dad wasn’t a religious man, but late in his life I learned that he was a man of great faith. I know in my heart that my father is now in the presence of his Heavenly Father.

Happy Father’s Day, dad. I’ll be coming home one day soon.

“…I know to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord, and from what I know of Him, that must be very good.” — Sara Groves, “What Do I Know?”