Walfred Photography

Father’s Day

My father passed away the Friday before Father’s Day. It was the same day as OJ Simpson’s Bronco chase. We were oblivious to what was happening in California. The TV was on, but nobody was watching it. We were too preoccupied with loving him. His death, my first experience watching the process intimately like that, was infused with love from all directions. The hospice staff, the aunts and uncles, cousins and friends who came in in and out. Our family– me, my brother and sister and mom, all surrounded him. We watched his blue eyes widen and his hands reach up and out as he took his last breath. What he saw and reached out for gave him peace. Us too. It was hard to say goodbye, but it was also beautiful.  He had had a great ride.

I wrote this piece last year. I’ve added in some family photos.

One of nine
Middle child
Spit on a piece of pie so no one else will eat it
Thats’s how he got by
The biggest of the seven boys

Daddy, lined up in bith order(5th from right), with six of his seven brothers and two sisters

Out of high school before his time
Helping his father dig ditches
Lay pipe
Plumbing trucks
Muddy boots
“Dorsey” on the side panel

Enlistment photo. US Army Air Corps

Army Air Corps
Sent from Atlantic City to
Dallas Air Force Base
All because “pipefitter” was by his name on an index card
The Colonel’s wife in Texas had a leaky faucet
Typical U.S. government efficiency
But he got his wings and he soared

Eighth Air Force
A pretty girl painted on the nose of a plane
Bungay, England
European Theatre
Bronze Battle Stars & Oak Leaf Clusters
Christmas Eve raids on Germany etched in his dreams
and waking hours
Stories he was able to share

And never any details about that French farm girl
That’s okay Dad. You can have that one all to yourself.

Flight Engineer, front row, second from left

Just one soul of
The Greatest Generation
A big kid grown tall
Blessed with a sense of humor
He knew how to work a crowd
Enter a party
“Scorch” a pretty girl
Deliver a joke

Impulsive ain’t the word for it
We lost count of how many cars he owned
A small fortune drove off several times
on four tires
But oh what fun it is to ride

Holding me, 1955

He was Jimmy
He was Dad
He was Pop Pop
Now our Great Grandfather spirit in the sky

Daddy relished his role as “Pop Pop” here with my daughter in the 1980s

He saw his life path as remarkable
“The war made me who I am” he used to say
And every day after, he took it seriously as a gift

Not a pious man, nor very religious
But highly moral and empathetic
The joy of giving rested in every cell of his body
He did onto others
And he loved giving presents
The best of these were his stories

Thank you for showing us all
How to love with a smile in your heart
And on your face

Thank you for sparking our imaginations
and our curiosity
Thank you for being a big kid
For being silly
For marrying that tall brunette from Chicago you met in Arizona
For meeting challenges head on
For finding the good in the bad
The silver lining in the grey clouds that often hovered
For loving all of us the unique way you did

For being on the ball
On the stick
For exiting this life with the grace and bravery
of a real champion
On Eagle’s wings
For giving us life and enjoying our ride through it

The best there ever was! 

My father and I at a family wedding, four months before he died

~Father’s Day, June 2014.

This entry was published on June 21, 2015 at 9:12 am. It’s filed under Vintage photos and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.


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