Many of us will spend this Father’s Day without their Dads. This will be my fifth.
It hasn’t gotten any easier, though I’m told that time heals all wounds. I’m sure it will eventually for me as well…just not now.
I wish that everyone could have known the man that I did. My father was not a complicated man, a characteristic I have found fits conservative men. And despite the rumor that all white men are rich and have “white privilege,” my father was certainly not complicated by “white privilege.”
My father was the oldest of six children. He grew up in a three room house with his five siblings, two parents, and the home had no indoor plumbing until he was 15. He teased my Mom, as he thought he was marrying into a rich family because her family had a toilet in the house.
At 19, my father was drafted into the Army, and spent the next two years in Germany. He told my brother and I many times how he hated every minute of it, but he knew without a doubt that it had made a man out of him.
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When he came home, like a lot of other young men newly discharged from the military, he was dead broke; but not like Hillary Clinton so eloquently (and wrongly) described it. My dad was so dead broke he actually had to go to work in a real job.
Eventually he met my mother, and they married in 1959. Their first home, a small apartment in South St. Louis. They bought their first house in 1963, and two years later, yours truly made her debut.
My father went to night school for a while. He would try to do homework and study, while a curious four year old kept him company. Though he worked hard at it, he never got his degree. Perhaps I was a bit more of a distraction than I care to admit.
Neverthless, I can’t recall my father ever not having a job. And despite not having a degree, my father was promoted regularly within the companies for which he worked, over those who had degrees. The lesson: he taught my brother and I that the world owed us nothing. If we wanted something, we were going to have to work for it.
His heroes were Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley Jr, and my father is undoubtedly the reason I am a Conservative.
My father marveled at Buckley’s brilliance and dogged Conservatism, as well as Buckley’s “Blackford Oakes” series of spy novels.
I was a teenager who was just starting my working life when Ronald Reagan became President. My Father said, in his quiet way, that Reagan was the right man at the right time.
When I brought my first paycheck stub to him, and pointed to two vastly different numbers, the lower one being what I got after Uncle Sam was done with me, I got my first lesson on taxes.
“Remember that when you vote!”
As I went to work, my father would say,
“Go discover the joys of capitalism”.
It was all part of that dry sense of humor that those who knew him best completely understood.
“Don’t be a sheep!” was also a favorite nugget of fatherly advice.
I never followed the crowd, that advice whispering from my psyche.
My father took me to my first Tea Party. Little did I know that it would be the only one we would go to together.
My father instilled in me, that there is nothing that I can’t accomplish. I can only hope that there are many people who are as lucky as I was.
Happy Father’s Day.