For all those who love being a dad as much as I do, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY.
Today on June 28th my dad will be 90 years old. He has been married to my mom for 62 years. For folks in his age range it is not rare to stay married to the same person for this long. I was able to stay married for only 23 years.
There are many things that I have learned from my dad over the years. For some of those things I was a very reluctant learner. There are too many to mention but we all are aware of those times when we thought we knew a lot more that our parents. My thinking was how could this old guy with his old world thinking know what’s going on? My youth gave me the opinion that I could conquer the world. There was no way that that this older person could know all he claimed to know. It must have been pretty frustrating for him.
As I have gotten older with kids of my own, I now understand the difficulty of trying to pass on my knowledge and experience.
As long as I can remember there was one phrase my dad used to say that I never disagreed with. That phrase was “Everyone was someone’s loved one”. When I think about this statement it makes perfect sense. In some way or another everyone an important part of someone’s life.
My dad was born in Louisiana in 1924. I consider this the Deep South because this as low geographically that one can go in the United States. Any lower would put you in the Gulf of Mexico.
Today, three of the states that border the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, are where some of the poorest in this country live.
I don’t know if that was the case during my dad’s youth but I would probably guess that things haven’t changed that much. My grandparents lived a very short distance from a levy that kept them separated from the Mississippi River. There are railroad tracks just inside the levy and I remember on my visits feeling their house shake when any train passed by.
My dad said they didn’t have electricity. He had never talked about having running water or an inside bathroom but there had to be some time when using an outhouse was a way of life.
My grandmother worked in a shrimp factory and my grandfather worked for over 40 years at a factory called Celotex.
Celotex manufactured asbestos insulation. In all my time until now I never knew what that factory produced. My dad never talked about the company. He only talked about the fact that my grandfather was gainfully employed.
There were no regulations regarding pollution during those times. It’s not hard to imagine the negative effect that factory had on that community.
During the 1920’s there was no civil rights movement. I would care to guess that racism was just as toxic as the 3 to 4 inches of asbestos dust that covered the ground in the communities that were near Celotex.
My dad would tell some hair-raising stories about what he experienced. He has told me many times that he and his friends would, in fear of being tormented, have to walk home using those same railroad tracks as their guide.
Not once during any time that he would tell these stories would he talk about any hatred towards his tormentors. He always balanced his stories by talking about those people who were kind to him.
I guess it was important for him to show his three kids that everyone was not evil. There were many, at least according to what he told me that were not in agreement with the actions of their loved ones.
I guess he wanted to show us that despite all that was going on in the Deep South love was still the common denominator. An evil act committed by one would be canceled out by a positive act by their “sister” or “brother”.
These words my dad would say has forced me to look at people in different light. Despite what any of us have done we are still members of the human race and we all may have some significant connection with someone.
This thinking has also helped me to not to prejudge people. I’m not “Mr. Perfect”. I have learned over these years of hearing this statement that I’m not the one with all the answers.
Everyone plays an important part in the world we live in and just because it’s not readily available to what their role is not an excuse to treat them with malice.
I know that Father’s Day was on June 15th but I have chosen to publish this post today on my dad’s birthday.
Happy Birthday Dad and I will always remember that “Everyone is someone’s loved one”.

I’m the guy whose glass is always 1/2 full.




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