Growing up in the unrestricted areas of rural Texas, I was inundated by bigger than life characters. However, no one ever came close to my daddy.
My father grew up as a single child. He was out working the “King Cotton” fields by the age of 5. He never had more than a third-grade education, but his love for reading and math propelled him to always be a life long learner. Even with the shortage of education, my father rose to the title of General Foreman. It was with amazement that I watched him how to learn to conduct safety meetings and learn and apply all the tedious OSHA compliances. He always took so much pride in his work. He had to work twice as hard as anyone else but never complained.
His faith driven life also compelled him to donate much of his time and his earnings to keep his Parish running. My father kept up this practice for the latter portion of my mother’s illness. He couldn’t bear to leave her for once second not wanting to miss any of the time she had left in this world.
My admiration and reverence for my father grew deeper as I observed how tenderly he would care for her. During the dark evenings, when the sun would set, I would see this man of steel indeed shield his mate of 56 years.
It was always such a reward for me to wander in and view them hold hands, as they watched the evening news. There were numerous times that I knew he was at his wit end, but he never gave up on his loving best friend.
When I look around in today’s world, I shiver to think how quickly this label of “My Hero” is often tossed around. I know that a hero is not someone that sees themselves as a gladiator on a field or a court. Today’s heroes are the infinite husband caretakers that never complain. These real fighters take care of their sweethearts until the very end.
I love you, Daddy. There will never be another hero just like you.