|Camping with the family|
No doubt both genetics and environment are major components in how a person turns out. I got a lot from Dad on both counts. I am sure I owe the fact that I am a writer, even that I am a published writer, to him in a variety of ways. First even when I was very small, he was writing and I formed the image or idea that writing was a completely normal activity, even a meritorious one that sometimes earned money! Until I left home, dad's writing was a constant of sorts and a regular part of life. When I began to make up verses and soon stories at a fairly young age, he encouraged me. Oh, he was not content unless he could slant or steer my efforts in directions he felt were either the best, the most potentially rewarding or just what he wanted to see me doing but that is moot, I wrote, mom and dad read it and commented, mostly encouraged, and so I wrote more!
|Me and Dad, resting after a ride and|
looking at my .22 revolver
So I owe my father many debts that I can never repay. He caused me some grief and left internal scars which I bear to this day but I am sure never out of malice or evil intent. In turn I know I gave him some additional gray hairs and creases in his face, maybe some ulcers and high blood pressure at various times. For awhile we were very estranged and he never could be friends with my husband--it was two very strong, alpha type men with me as the bone between the dogs!
Thankfully, we had 'made up' enough to be beyond civil before his final decline in health and the accident that took his life so I was not left with deep regrets. Still, we never quite became friends after I reached adulthood. I am sorry for that but it was not to be. I am sure there are many aspects in my life that he would not approve of; he had some very strict and also very odd standards in many areas and eccentricities that are hard to understand, But in other ways I believe he is also proud of me and perhaps happy for things I have accomplished. I hope so. At any rate, I honor him today along with my grandfathers, one of whom I never really knew but heard a great deal about and the other who was a low key but important presence to me until his death in 1997 at the age of 100 years and 10 months! The respect and regard with which both men were accorded in their communities and the industry both were in--the railroads--speaks for itself. In addition I had two very different uncles, one brother of each parent who influenced me and some 'father figures' outside the family circle who also left impressions on my young mind and heart, God bless all the dads and quasi-dads for all you do!
I find it very tragic how many kids today grow up without a father in their life and often with no one to really fill those big, important shoes. We've tended to make masculinity somehow less virtuous and less important and in doing this have done a disservice to all. We need two kinds of people to make a family, a male and a female. I won't say that a same-sex couple cannot provide this in some ways because they each will probably assume a more male or female role just by their inherent nature, but a child who grows up in a totally feminine or totally masculine environment is going to be deprived in so many subtle ways. We see how this happens in so many sad cases now and reap the results. I have to vote for two parent families and wish that we could get past the notion of discarding partners like we change our socks so kids do not get to grow up in a stable permanent family circle. I am thankful that I did not suffer in that regard.