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I Miss Him — The Old Man

I Miss Him – The Old Man

Hello, everyone.

Today, June 19, 2016, is Father’s Day.  I want to begin this diary with the lyrics to a song written by Phil Coulter:

Copyright 1981, Four Seasons Music, Ltd.

The tears have all been shed now
we´ve said our last goodbyes
His souls been blessed
He’s laid to rest
And it´s now I feel alone
He was more than just a father
A teacher my best friend
He can still be heard
In the tunes we shared
When we play them on our own

[Chorus]
I never will forget him
For he made me “what I am”
Though he may be gone
Memories linger on
And I miss him, the old man

As a boy he’d take me walking
By mountain field and stream
And he showed me things
not known to kings
And secret between him and me
Like the colors of the pheasant
As he rises in the dawn
And how to fish and make a wish
Beside the Holly Tree

Chorus

I thought he’d live forever
He seemed so big and strong
But the minutes fly
And the years roll by
For a father and a son
And suddenly when it happened
There was so much left unsaid
No second chance
To tell him thanks
For everything he’s done

Chorus

The first time I heard this song was a night when my Carol and I watched the Three Irish Tenors.  John McDermott sang this song, and I cried all the way through it.  Carol tried to comfort me and asked me what was wrong.  I told her that this song opened up some old wounds involving my stepfather.  She understood and gave me a loving I deeply needed.

My biological “father” walked out on my mother when she was pregnant with me.  A couple of years later, a fine gentleman named Charles T. Chambers met my mother and eventually married her.  In time, he adopted me as his son.  His own mother died when he was a young boy, so he never really knew a mother’s love.  He had to quit school when he was in the second grade to try to earn a little money for his family.  My mother often told me how happy he was to get a family all at once – a wife, a little son, and a mom and dad.

My grandpa was the greatest man I ever knew, and he accepted Dad as his own son.  His wife didn’t, though.  She hated and despised him – for no known legitimate reason – and refused to even let him inside her house.  I  lived with Grandpa and grandma, but Dad wanted me to live with him and Mother.  But that bitch of a mother-in-law he had refused to consider it and threatened him with legal action if he persisted in wanting us to be a true family.  I finally went to live with him and Mother when grandma became too sick to continue living in her house.

Thanks to her, I never had a good relationship with him.  Granted, he was a laborer and outdoorsman and I was a scholar and a brain, but still, I didn’t have the relationship with him that I really wanted.  I can understand his not understanding me, but still.  I eventually came to understand that it was not necessarily me – I was just his outlet – but it was how his in-laws had treated him.

I knew that in his own way, Dad loved me, for it came through in little ways from time to time.  The folks moved me to Wolf Point, Montana, in 1969 so I could take a job there.  Mother mentioned several times how on the trip back to Iowa, Dad talked about how hard it was for him to leave me all alone out there.  I moved back to Iowa a year later because of my health.  I had a horrible time finding work, and Dad kept after me mercilessly.  He just could not understand that guys with disabilities had difficulty in finding people who would hire them.  His treatment hurt me deeply, but I understood where he was coming from.

I remember the last time that I ever saw him.  As time went on, I moved to the north suburbs of Chicago, got married, and found a job.  He had developed cancer – of the liver, I believe – and was in the Veteran’s Hospital in Iowa City.  My brother Tommy and I went back to see him.  I didn’t have a lot to say because there was too much that I wanted to say to him.  A week later, I got the call that he was gone.

In Matthew 10 and Luke 14, “Jesus Christ” said some things that troubled me deeply and eventually led to my renouncing him.  “Jesus” said that we were not worthy of him and could not be his disciples if we loved anyone more than we loved him.  I loved Dad.  I could never renounce him for any hairy “Jesus.”  I took his passing hard because there was so much that I wanted to say to him, but couldn’t.

I sometimes wonder how different things would have been if his bitch of a mother-in-law had treated him with even a sliver of the respect that he deserved.  I will never know.  I think that he truly wanted to be a Dad to me, but just didn’t know how.  I knew I wanted to be a son to him, but I didn’t know how.

Phil Coulter said it well:

I never will forget him
For he made me “what I am”
Though he may be gone
Memories linger on
And I miss him, the old man

Have yourselves a great day and a great Father’s Day.  And if you still have your dad here with you, give him an extra dose of love today.  You’ll be so glad that you did.

Bill

 

June 19, 2016 Posted by | Life, Miscellaneous, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment