The Colors That Made My Dad Who He Was
I don’t normally describe people in colors but it occurred to me that when I think of my father, certain colors come to mind. Because this Sunday is Father’s Day, I have been thinking about him often. Here are my thoughts about the colors that made my father who he was. RED Dad loved the color red. As far as I know he always drove a red truck. He was a farmer and sold farm equipment so while the truck was red on the outside, on the inside it was an assortment of tools, parts, and anything else he might need during the day. Dad died in 1995 but to this day when I see a red truck, my heart skips a beat and I remember. I remember going to salt the cattle with him and bouncing along at his side. I remember waiting for him to come home at night and the excitement of seeing his truck pull into our driveway. I remember expecting my first child and asking him to take me for a bouncy ride in his truck to see if it would help his grandson make an appearance. I remember my son begging to go with Grandpa for a ride in his truck and telling my father to be sure and buckle him in. I remember watching the two of them ride off together with my heart in my throat and tears in my eyes. Love moments, I call them.WHITE
Farmers don’t stay clean very long so it may seem strange that I associate the color white with him, but there is a very good reason. Dad’s parents, my grandparents, were strong, faithful Christians and went to church every Sunday. Church is where my mom and dad met. Church and faith is what glued them together for life. Dad was 26 and mom was 16 when they married. I came along a year later and my brother soon followed. Their marriage was rough and rocky in the early years. Today folks don’t stick together and work things out like they once did. Divorce is so common no one bats an eye when a family splits up. I admit that as a child I often wondered if my parents might divorce, but as I got older I realized that wasn’t going to happen. Deep down they loved each other and they took their religion and their wedding vows seriously. They weren’t perfect people but like the hymn they sang on Sunday said, they were washed in the blood. Their Bibles were worn from use and scripture was quoted to me often….especially the “Children obey your parents.” Daddy might start out every day clean, but by night time his boots were muddy and his clothes in need of a wash. That didn’t matter. What makes a man is what’s on the inside and inside, his faith made him whiter than snow. BLUE
My father was made up of several shades of blue. There was the icy blue of his eyes. He had kind eyes that could twinkle with mirth but those same eyes could change into laser beams that froze me in my tracks. He was a tough man and I never saw him shed a tear until the day his own father died. Seeing my dad cry shook the world beneath my feet. It was like watching the planes fly into the twin towers. Before he cried he was bigger than life, stronger than Super-man. After he cried my heart ached with the knowledge that he was human too.
Dad loved basketball. He was a huge University of Kentucky fan. In Kentucky UK fans often say, “I bleed blue.” My dad really did. He never missed a game if he could help it and often got so wrapped up in the game that he would pound the floor or shout at the television. Showing that much emotion was out of character for him and my brother and I were fascinated. We loved to watch him watch his Wildcat’s play.
I mentioned that dad was a tractor salesman. In the early years of his business career he sold Ford tractors. He was such a good salesman that he won several trips. He and mom went to Switzerland, Hawaii, and the Rose Bowl. Dad traded farm equipment so there was always an assortment of John Deere, Massy Ferguson and New Holland equipment too, but it was the Ford tractor that paid our bills and provided my parents with the opportunity to travel.
RED, WHITE and BLUE
My dad served his country in the Air Force. He was stationed in Germany during the early 50’s. I don’t know much about those years as they happened long before I was born. I do know he loved his country, particularly his state. His roots were deep in the small town where he grew up and he was never tempted to go anywhere else. In fact, it was my mother who loved to travel. Dad had much rather be at home.
My father has been gone for almost 20 years but he lives on in my heart. I still hear his voice. “Stand up straight, Teresa! Don’t slouch! Be proud you are tall!” And I still see him in the memory movies I replay in my mind.
And sometimes when I look down the driveway I find myself still hoping to see a beat up red truck or a blue Ford tractor.
I wrote this post 3 years ago but wanted to share it again since tomorrow is Father’s Day. I miss him always!