By Bob Weaver|
If you were blessed with a good father, he was the source of knowledge, experience and history, a cup of wisdom from which to drink.
During my travels yesterday, one man said there were few people they could visit or call to ask life's burning questions. Most have died. Unfortunately, he said, "I'm now my own expert, which ain't all that good."
There are days I think about calling my dad, Giff. Stopping by to visit him, just to ask a simple question about Calhoun genealogy or history, or to clarify some event that happened in his lifetime or mine.
He has been gone 17 years, passing at age 87.
During the last few years of his life, he was a "nuisance" to our neighborhood, driving his car up and down the roads at a top-rate speed of 20 miles an hour.
Two years before he died he finally decided to have cataract surgery, and with miraculous wonderment, his vision was restored to 20/20. His driving improved accordingly.
A long-time highway department truck driver, he was proud of his work, often shoveling cinders from the tail-gate during those early years, and was long-suffering when he'd get fired because the politics changed.
His faithfulness to his church, his relationship with my mom, his hard labor, his friendliness to his neighbors and his loyalty to his old pals - they all meant a lot.
He loved softball, playing in community teams well into his 40s.
While there are hundreds of memories about his life and his relationship with me, the most compelling is New Year's Eve, the coming of the new millennium in 2000.
We had "Hur's Great Millennium Party," organized by our sons Eric and Jon, and our foster-son Rich.
They brought with them a load of fireworks, mostly aerial blasts, and helped gather a ton of firewood for a giant bonfire.
We invited lots of folks and Dianne made some great snacks. The music, festivity and fireworks lasted into the early morning hours.
My daughter Tracey and her husband came, with our first-born grandson Riley.
My dad stood around the bonfire for a long time, but later retreated to the front porch, where he could dash inside to warm himself.
It was here he said "This is what I wanted, more than anything in the whole world. To see this new thousand years come in, to be here with all of you."
He stood on the porch, tears gently flowing down his cheeks.
He turned and said "Bob, there have been hard times, but it has been so good. I love you and I love them," pointing to the knoll where the celebration was taking place.
"It went by so quickly. I hope you can teach these kids to slow it down a little, or they'll just miss the good things."
As the clock stuck twelve, bringing in the next thousand years, I hugged him and gave him a kiss.
With the cold wind whistling up Rowels Run, fireworks streaking across the the village, and most everyone looking skyward, I was
proud of my dad.
And, at the end of his life, I understood how much he loved me.
And I always loved him.
Now aged myself, on many days I take a short drive over to the Hur Cemetery to pay my respects to my parents, remembering them ever so gently.