In Honor of My Father on Father’s Day

Writers

By Rosemary Freeman

My Dad. He lived to be 86 years old, and live he did! His favorite saying “Ray’s my name. I guess you know yours.” With Dad’s personality, he never met a stranger. He could talk freely with anyone.

The one thing about my Dad is he never gave up – on anything! And he worked hard. With ten children and lots of illnesses, he had two choices: give up or keep toiling away. He chose the latter.

Dad owned an upholstery shop, bred and raised rabbits, tended a garden, adored fishing, and taught Sunday School. Laughter and smiles were an ongoing habit – he had few enemies. When he was hospitalized for a heart attack, well-wishers filled his room with balloons and floral arrangements.

Even when recuperating from the heart attack, he couldn’t stand to lie around. He canned pears for preserves from the trees in the back yard. A labor of love – we children ate the delicious preserves for months afterward. His main complaint while recovering from his heart attack was no salt in his diet. And did he ever complain – loudly! After he recuperated, he went right back to work. Was it easy? No, but that was what Dad did.

Dad had a second heart attack, but he still went back to work. Once when I picked Dad up at the hospital, I lost track of him. I asked a nurse where he was and she replied, “That elderly man over there?” Funny, but I never thought of him as old!

As I age myself, I have an increasing admiration for my Dad. His heart had the final say in his life, but he always had that air of hopefulness. Even at the end of his life here on earth, he expressed a desire to continue to live. He died never expressing any regrets; no “I wish I had done …” He went peacefully into the arms of a loving God.

Up to the end of his life, he knew his children, his grandchildren, and friends by name. Even at the age of 86, he still had a good memory.

I believe that when he encountered those on the other side, he probably said, “My name is Ray. I guess you know yours.”  What a father!

Rosemary Freeman is a widow who lives in High Point.

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