Saturday, November 5, 2011

re-post from

This is a cut and past from Adam's, my son, blog


30 Days Of Thanks: Dad

Dear Dad,

            You have always inspired me to use my imagination and I thank you for that. I have talked to you many times before about people wanting their kids to have a better life than their own. I am not passing any judgments on Grandma Williams, but thank you for moving up and out of the chicken shack. I believe that my kids don’t have to worry about mice eating their cereal or people breaking into our house. So progress is in motion.
            It is a running joke between Leigha and myself that I didn’t do anything fun or travel as a kid because I was poor. I guess that is only funny because I am not poor anymore. I do find that sometimes, I still stash food. The emergency beef jerky in the glove box, per se.
            I don’t know if your creativity and artistic interests stemmed from poverty as well, but if that is the case, I say that it was well worth it. I believe that once I entered into the workplace, albeit a few years too late, I have learned from you how to have fun with whatever situation that I am in, and to make friends while doing it.
            One thing that I have admired about you for as long as I can remember is your near-universal likeability. (You can’t really be like by everyone, can you?) It is one quality that I would like to believe that I got from you. You have a special quality when you are interacting with kids. You have the ability to talk to kids without seeming pretentious or creepy. And it isn’t because you look like Santa Clause, either. With the amount of times that people have told me that you are funny and have a great personality, perhaps you were destined to be fat.
            Sometimes, when I tell people that I have already read your will, they think that it is weird. I’ve never though it was weird. What I DIDthink was odd was that you kept it in the freezer. I remember that there was a line that said that I had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. That has always stuck with me. Thank you for dehydrating me and encouraging this thirst. Thank you for swallowing your pride and playing Trivial Pursuit with me again after I beat you for the first time. There is no shame in losing to me repeatedly, as I did the same to you for decades.
            I suppose that I’ve also got you to thank for my appreciation for words and the English language. Leigha says that it get to the point where it is difficult to sit in on a conversation between us when we start trying to out-clever and out-pun each other. That’s fine; it almost becomes our own language. Thank you for being a loving and caring father that has taught me to be the same.

And here is his response:

            First of all, thank you including me in your list of 30 important people in your life.
As you know I grew up without a father.  I did have a couple of father figures in my life.  One was my brother who was seventeen years my senior.  He was there when I was born.  However, I don’t actually remember him until I was in the 2nd grade.  He had graduated, joined the Navy, got out of the Navy, and gotten married to a woman who already had a son, Keith, from a previous marriage.  Even then I didn’t see him often until he moved back into my mother’s house.  By that time he had several more kids (three – I think).  This is when I got to know more about him.  And I didn’t like what I saw.  From my perspective as a kid myself, I saw him as a brute and a bully who was abusive to his kids.  So, when I had children of my own I chose to have a different relationship with my kids.  I wanted to be their teacher, their mentor, and a friend.  (Sometimes it is hard to be a friend when you are also the parent – but you know that by now.)
Another role model that I had was our neighbor, Russell.  Although I was oblivious to it then, he was my mother’s boyfriend.  Russell was my buddy.  He took me fishing – a lot.  In those days there was no trash pick up.  We had a ‘burn barrel’ to dispose of everything that would burn.  The trash that would not burn would accumulate until we had enough to load a pickup truck and take to the dump.  Russell would take me to the dump.  I loved the dump!  I think I may have carried half a load back from the dump whenever we went.  I picked up old radios, business signs or anything that had lights, bells, buzzers, or speakers.  I became a pretty good repair person for those old radios and built lots of ‘neat stuff’ from the motors, lights etc.  Yes, I have found memories of Russell.  Russell was a buddy – but he was not a father.  He would have let me do anything I wanted.  There was no discipline there. 
My best father figure was my mother.  She was fun and enjoyed my craziness and at the same time never forgot (or let me forget) who was the parent.  I got my love of books and education from this woman who dropped out before ever going to high school. (She raised her brothers and sisters after her mother’s health became too bad.) I truly believe she was one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known.  I know that my sense of humor and sarcasm came from this sharp witted/sharp tongued woman.
I tried to be the kind of father that would encourage you and your siblings to become self-reliant and creative.  By the way, doing that is kind of like being in charge of a stampede.  You can get things moving but have only marginal control of where it goes or when it stops.
I’m so proud of all of you kids for the adults and parents you have become.


1 comment:

  1. i read this with tears of remembrance of sorrow and joy.