Today we remember and revere fathers everywhere. Sometimes I think that fathers don’t always get the attention and applause that they deserve. Back in the 1950s, moms stayed home to care for the children, keep the house in order, cook, clean, iron, dust, polish and more. The men went to work each day, and on the weekends they tended to the outdoor work; in winter they shoveled snow, in the summer they mowed the grass and kept the vehicles running.
But even back then, fathers who really fathered stood out. I don’t remember my biological father at all. I was aware that all of a sudden he wasn’t around, and that Mom and I were on our own. Mom, being the amazon she was, handled everything and did everything.
The years passed, and when I was about three or four years old, Mom met the man who would become a father to me. His name was Ned Bullock, and from the very start, I loved him. He took Mom and I on picnics, and one day on one of those picnics, he and I picked buttercups together. I asked him if I could call him “Daddy,” and he said yes.
Looking back over the years, I now realize that he and Mom had already decided to marry, and even as young as I was, I knew he had come to love me as well as Mom. As soon as they were married, Dad adopted me, and we were now a family. He took fatherhood seriously, and was a consistantly good dad to me.
When I was nine years old, he taught me how to change a tire, how to use a jack knife without cutting myself, and to make a good camp fire and put it out responsibly. Of course, I really didn’t want to learn all that boring stuff and I asked him why I had to. His explanation was this: “you need to know how to do things like this so that you will be independant and not have to rely on some man to do things for you.”
I remember thinking at the time that I would gladly have “some man” do all the stuff I personally didn’t want to do in the first place. No other girl I knew at the time had to learn this stuff; why did I? But years later I understood and was grateful to have such a proactive dad.
My dad was a father who really fathered. He made a committment not only to my mother, but to me. He stood by us through thick and thin, and I loved and respected him. I miss him every day.
Happy Fathers Day, Dad.