Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10

Today is my father's birthday.  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. 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.

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.

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.

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.  I wish that I had photographed it.  The house was empty then, with only the echoes from his past still present : His room just as he had lived in it as a child. I always thought that was sad and developed a feeling at that time that houses have souls too. I still believe that.

Most of the people that he grew up with have died. All of his siblings are dead.  One died from alcoholism. Her daughter died from the disease as well. 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 something so destructive?

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. When I was a child, my mother and I would surprise him with presents and a home made card. After I was out of the home and married, my wife and I would take him presents. He seemed to always enjoy this special day.  I like to think that his spirit lives on in me.


  1. Syd,

    Very nice, Happy Birthday to your Father.

    My father is also gone. Over 30 years ago my father left to be closer to me. I miss his physical presence and I often wonder what he would think about my life but I have learned over the years that my father did not leave. He just decided it was time that he lived through me instead of with me.

    I catch myself doing things as my father did. I say things my father said. I have quiet times in deliberation as my father. I have found my father now lives inside of me.

    My only wish is that he would teach me the patience he had.

    Look deep I am sure your father is there with you too.

  2. Happy Birthday to your Dad.I know the feeling of missing your father. My dad Got sober in 1963 and stayed sober the rest of his life.I just whish he could have beaten the smoking habit.He Died at the age of 58 on 15 August 1984,man I still miss him.

  3. hugs, man.

    it is nice to have those stories to look back on...pretty familiar to me, living in va and being out among the farms. still have my parents but i carry similar stories of my grandfather.

    sweet rememberance man...

  4. Happy Birthday Dad. You raised a wonderful man with a sensitive heart. I hope you know that.


  5. I like to think that the very best parts of your father live on in you, Syd. He must have been so proud of you.

  6. It seems to me that all the lovely things I've seen you write about you dad over your blogging years definitely live in you.

    Happy birthday to your dad. I bet he's proud.

    1. Dear Syd,

      I am glad you are still writing. You always make me think. Sometimes we can still feel our loved ones that are gone. I can tell that you are feeling your Dad's presence today. Merry Christmas to you as well.


  7. I think I've heard you tell the story of your father's birth before, perhaps on Father's Day? Either way, it sticks out to me as it, obviously, does to you, too. I'm glad you have fond memories of your father. They are nice to hold onto when our loved ones are gone.

  8. My father died in February 2004 and would have turned 83 on November 22nd. On my way home tonight I said out loud "I love you,Dad and miss you very much." Yet, I feel his presence every day. I believe your dad is with you Syd, and that he is extremely proud of you. Happy Birthday to you, Syd's dad.


  9. Nice post Syd. I am glad you think well of your father still.

  10. Been missing stopping by to and am so glad to hear you speak of your dad. My dad is still alive, but I know so little of his story. Nice to get a little story to fill that longing in my own life.

    My dad was raised on a farm on Long Island, New York. He has not been back East to visit his hometown since I was a girl of seven.

    I got the chance to live in his state, as an adult. In fact, we lived in the town where my dad went to college. Our son was born in the far western rural part of New York state. That gives me connection, albeit in an indirect way, with my father's roots.

    We need our family stories, so as to understand our place in the nature of things.

    Thanks for sharing, Syd~

  11. My dad's birthday is November 21.... and there was always this way our family "hid" his birthday in the flurry of Thanksgiving celebrations.. I always thought that was kind of odd..

  12. I know what you mean about old, empty houses.

    Glad you have good memories in your heart today.

  13. These tributes to your father each year do honour to his memory Syd, a flawed but good man with his own place in history and a farm he knew as home.

    Many people grow up into mental illness, cruelty, poverty, war, loss, disappointment, failure, addiction. That sadness (in some form)is the human lot for most of us.

  14. Your remembrance of your Dad hit me especially hard since the loss of my sister just 2 weeks past. It's wonderful to know that there are people like you who really care.

  15. It touches me to read of your Dad the memories you shared together.
    My father died the day I was leaving for my first big solo job in Africa. He was sober when he passed living in the country running his own small store. I think he was happiest later in his life.

  16. I am so lucky to be the age I am and still have my mom and dad, in relatively good health.

    I wonder the same things about my husband that you wonder about your dad....I doubt there will ever be answers.....


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