Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thinking of my dad on his birthday

Today is my father's birthday. I thought that I would share some of my memories of him on this day of his birth.

My father enjoyed his birthday. When I was a kid, my mother and I would surprise him with presents and a home made card. I wanted to make sure that I had a nice present for him. I can remember a set of cuff links that we bought. He wore them many times and they seemed to accent his starched white shirt. I still have those cuff links as well as many other things that belonged to my dad.

After I was out of the home and married, my wife and I would take him presents. He was always appreciative of our thinking of him. I could tell that he still had that little bit of child within him on this day.

He was born in the big farm house on a snowy morning in Virginia. I talked to a very elderly lady many years ago who remembered how my father's elder sister ran across the fields to tell the neighbors of his birth. It was a happy occasion that a son was born. After he died, it gave me a lot of pleasure to hear about his birth from someone who had been there and seen him when he was a baby. It made him seem alive in their memory of him.

My father would share a lot of stories about growing up on the farm. He told me about getting up on cold mornings and running down the stairs to stand in front of the fire in the dining room to get dressed. He told me about mornings that he and his father would ride on horseback for several miles to meet up with other riders for fox hunting. He told me about hog killing time and curing of meat in the smoke house.

One of the more poignant things that he told me was that for Christmas there would be candy and an orange or apple in his stocking. This would make me cry because of guilt that I got so much. I think now that my father might have been doing a bit of manipulating as his parents weren't poor. Maybe it was his way of making me feel grateful for those things that I received.

He lived in another time. He never forgot the community though and would go to visit old neighbors whenever he could. At Christmas, he would take gifts to those old timers that lived near his birthplace. He enjoyed sitting around a fire and talking to them about the old times. I believe that he was a romantic at heart.

The farm was sold and the old farmhouse fell into disrepair. At least I have photos of it. And I did an oil painting of it when I was a teenager. I remember going in the farm house and seeing my father's room upstairs. The house was empty then, with only the echoes from his past still present. I always thought that was sad and developed a feeling at that time that houses have souls too. I still believe that.

Many of the people that he grew up with have died. All of his siblings are dead. One died from alcoholism. I don't know what happened along the way in life for her or my father to have decided that drinking was a source of solace. It's a question that everyone asks who has an alcoholic relative. How did the child born in innocence become tainted by life?

Anyway, I guess all this rambling is to tell you that I still miss my dad. I would like for him to know that I'm thinking about him on his birthday. I like to think that his spirit lives on in me.


  1. what a lovely tribute, syd this has tears in my eyes. i miss my dad too. happy birthday to your dad, i love your memories

  2. You are alot like your dad...but then you knew that, didn't you :-)

    Thank you for sharing him with us. Your memories paint a wonderful, warm, caring picture.


  3. Syd, this is a touching memorial to your dad. He would be proud and delighted to see how lovingly you write of him.

  4. I love posts like this. They probably are my favorite.

    My father took presents to people at Christmas too. He would buy fruit, nuts and candy and find some basket or box, put it together and try to get plastic wrap to stay on top of it all. Then drive to homes way out in the sticks and deliver them. He was in his 70s and would say "these are for the elderly."

    I bet our fathers would have liked each other, Syd. And I know what you mean about homes feeling a certain way. They are not lifeless.

  5. Oh Syd how precious this is, I wish you write more about your Dad, he sounded like a wonderful Man and I a blooger friend can see him in you. WOw can you believe that I remember last year I think you wrote about your dad on his Birthday. Time flies.

    I treasure each time I speak to my dad and he tells me of how he grew up, and he is one for story telling. I can remember myself and sibs running downstairs when we lived at he mom's house whilst he built ours, we were all in flannel PJ's he in his long johns ( we call them ) standing next to the wood buring stove to warm up.

    Sigh I truly will say again, I needed to read this today so close to xmas, God does send people into our lives for many reasons..

  6. Syd,
    That was a beautiful tribute to your dad. God bless him.

    I believe houses have souls, too. It's a shame that the old farm house fell into disrepair.

    My grandmother's family farm in Mississippi no longer exists either. I so wish it did. I have one piece of furniture from that house--a lamp stand.

    Sending love,


  7. How lovely to rememcmber him today. My mothers birthday was Dec 5th and my late fathers is Dec 15th.

    Growing older really impresses on me the importance of family lost.....

  8. Your father does live on in you Syd, this post is proof of that. What a lovely picture and tribute to your Dad. Hey, my Mom always told us she received ribbon candy, fresh oranges and whole walnuts in her stocking. She was very poor and when I was growing up, guess we got in our stockings? Yep, ribbon candy that stuck to the stocking, nice big oranges and whole walnuts..LOL. They live on in us.

  9. My real father was dead when I finally tracked down his "other" family. There were so many questions I wanted to ask him.

  10. Your words paint a lovely picture of your dad. How long has it been? Oh my gosh....I don't believe this. As I typed those words I realized that for the first time in 35 years I let the day of my father's passing go by unnoticed (it was Dec 6). I can't believe that. I guess I am so focused on Keven right now.

    My mom said they would get oranges in their stocking too - it was a big deal to get an orange in the dead of winter in South Dakota!!

  11. We are all still connected in a way that is not possible for the human mind to comprehend.

  12. How blessed you are to have such wonderful memories of your dad. You brought back a memory of my aunt putting an apple, an orange and a box of raisins in our stockings when we were young. Hugs to you today. Tammy

  13. Our lives pass by so quickly. For me, I believe there is always room for improving living in the moment and appreciating more the life I have.

    I love the memories of loved ones who have moved on. Your memories of your dad are such a blessing.

    God bless your dad's memory.

  14. What a wonderful tribute to your father.

    Thank you Syd.

  15. Remembering my dad through your shared experience.

    Blessings and aloha...

  16. Well yes,clearly he does.This post proves that and I am touched you shared so much of him,in you,with us;)


  17. You may call it rambling but I call it a warm heart felt story of your memories of your father. You should post a shot of the painting of the old farmhouse.

  18. I love this photo, it makes me think of our farm.

    I loved to hear my fathers stories too.

    I think of my dad with the same mixture of love, sadness,and nostalgia. Thanks for sharing about it.jeNN

  19. A beautiful reflection of your Dad... and of the longing in your heart, the missing. I believe that old houses have souls too... I feel the presence of them when I dare venture into one. Thanks for sharing the memories with us!

  20. a precious memoir indeed..and i guess thats how our loved ones keep on living..inside of our memories...

    and no reason to feel bad or guilty...he indeed lived in another time...

    and like glimmers says..somehow this kind of posts are the best..because they keep a candle burning

  21. It is amazing that our fathers came from another era entirely. I remember my dad talking of the same kinds of things and being amazed. Thanks for sharing Syd.

  22. Syd, I am sure that your Dad is watching over you and is so proud that you are his son. God Bless. Dx


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.