Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fare thee well Dad

This is going to be a difficult entry to write. As my thoughts form and then get typed, I find that allot of these thoughts are not translating well to written word.

My mother passed away in 2007, it was so very hard on my father. His grief was so terrible, that I think I tried to grieve for him and for myself in some ways. He and my Mom have been sweethearts since they were 16 years of age.
They met at a Halloween Party at their local Grange and the rest as they say is history. They married at age 21, while Dad was still in the service. She lived at home with her father for the first year of her marriage while Dad was deployed in Japan to support the B-29's during the Korean conflict. One time he told me that he wanted to live in Japan, it was such a beautiful place and the people were so kind there. Mom would not hear of it though. Mom was a person that loved being "home". Home to her would always be where she grew up.
My parents each grew up on dairy farms. When they were very young, they were still using horses to put the fields in. They used hand crank cream separators (probably manufactured in one of the DeLaval plants in New York) for the milk. The butter was churned in a big churn and dash. Ice was cut in the winter and stored. The water inside the house was brought into the kitchen sink using a hand pump or, in Dad's case, the hand pump was out in the yard. Electricity still hadn't reached these rural areas yet. They milked the cows, planted, picked and preserved vegetables, made haystacks in the fields (yeah, no bales yet). All done by hand or with horses, no power equipment in sight for them yet. Harvest time, once done was always a time of celebration. Mom remembers her relatives of Gorali descent dressing in their embroidered vests, skirts and leggings and the party going for several days. The different family members that played instruments would set up in the barn and they would have a grand old time. I don't really remember party stories from Dads home, but I do remember that his father played the best pranks on him and his siblings around harvest time. Especially when there was a spooky full moon. As the years went by, the farms modernized with Tractors and Harvest Equipment. More on Tractors and Implements in a bit.
My Father enlisted in the Air Force and served four years during the Korean Conflict. He was an engine mechanic for the B-29's that supported our troops. He also taught other engine mechanics to work on these engines. Dad was very proud of his service record and all that he accomplished while enlisted. He entered the service as a shy young man and developed a sense of worth and confidence while there.
When Dad returned to the US and was discharged, he and Mom set themselves up and started their life together. Dad worked as a mechanic for an International Harvester dealer that sold tractors, harvesters, implements, trucks and scouts. He then became a Diesel Technician for Ford Motor Company, Tractor and Implement division. They had a diesel lab in Latham, New York where he worked until he became a Service Representative. Dad would be called in when the dealers mechanics could not fix a problem. He put on many training schools, set up many fair displays, helped many people fix their problems with Farm and Industrial Equipment. For a time he worked on the "Hot Line" in Detroit. He was not one that liked being tied to a desk or interacting with computers. Ford and New Holland merged, so, Dad had the opportunity to be back in the field doing what he loved best. He was proud of the fact that he had gone through his career for Ford/ Ford-New Holland with no accidents.
He and Mom enjoyed retirement, an Alaskan Cruise was a highlight for them. They enjoyed family barbecues and many great times with family and friends through the years.
Wherever Mom and Dad lived, they made long lasting friends. People always felt comfortable and welcomed. I have had the honor to meet some of their friends and am very grateful to have the opportunity.
Dad's love for the Air Force set up a legacy of family members following his footsteps.
We have many warm memories and many cherished times to help us remember our Dad.
I have been blessed to get to know my father more closely over these last 6 years. I learned so much more about the man my father was and the kindness, warmth and care that he had in his heart. He was a good man, and wonderful friend and a great Daddy. I will miss him so very much.
Thank you to everyone that has reached out to us, you helped my Dad get through these last few years with some very happy days. His phone was his connection to the outside world and your calls meant the world to him.
Dairy Farm Tribute
Tribute to his days in the Air Force

Tribute to Dad's career in Farm Equipment

Farm Equipment tribute

The framed print has the B-29 at the head of the formation

Family Tribute

Honor Guard

Completed the Rifle Salute, horn playing Taps

Blessing and Burial Rites have been prayed.

Folding of the ceremonial flag

Final Tribute of flowers

It's not "Goodbye", but, "See You Later, Dad." Until then....


Diana Louie, The Village Fabric Shoppe said...

A beautiful recollection of a life well lived. Over time, smiles will grow stronger than the tears. Hugs to you.

suzanne, dutchess county NY said...

That was a beautiful post. It sounds like they had a wonderful life and I am quite sure they were very proud of you. Thinking of you these past days.

Ralph the Cat said...

This is beautiful. It was such a bittersweet day - saying good bye,catching up with relatives and making new memories. You did a wonderful job bringing us together. Aunt Christine

Claudia Bugh said...

Kate this is so beautifully written and heartfelt I can't stop the tears falling. I'm so very sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing such a moving testament to your father's life ~ a special man who lived a quietly profound life.