It’s almost Father’s Day. Time to write a tribute to my Dad.
Dad was born and raised in Ohio. Dad has two sisters. He is the middle child. Dad was raised in the house his Dad built and the house is still in the family. Just a few houses down from mom/dad’s place.
Dad didn’t play any sports in school. His mom wouldn’t let him. But instead of playing sports he took up odd jobs to save for his first car. He delivered the newspaper, mowed the grass at the local cemetery, baled hay, shoveled snow and whatever odd jobs he could do. By the time he was 16 he had enough money to get his first car.
My Dad has always been a hard worker. He worked at Pepsi for 24 years, delivery pop/soda. Till he had a heart attack on the job. He worked on the family church building almost every weekend for 10 years. He was a Deacon in the church for almost 35 years. Keeping our cars running, doing the yard work and whatever project Mom had in store for him or us kids.
Growing up my dad wasn’t always there to be at a game, choir recital or to show us how to play sports. As you already know Mom filled that role. I know this sounds horrible to some that Dad wasn’t there when we were young. He had a great reason.
My Dad was providing for his family. He was the only source of income. Being a Pepsi man takes long hours especially when you are working for 100% commission. He would leave the house around 5:30 am every morning and come home anywhere from 6-9 every night. He did this 6 days a week, sometimes 7 days a week. There was no time in his schedule to be there.
I also figured out why he didn’t play any sports with us. If he would have and got hurt playing around, then he couldn’t work and there would be no money for his family. I think he was wise to make that decision. It was in the best interest of his family.
While Dad worked at Pepsi he became very strong. Lifting 3 tons of pop/soda a day will make you strong. I remember him in his Pepsi uniform and the sleeves were so tight. He had muscles the size of softballs.
Since Dad worked for Pepsi we never had any other kind of pop/soda in the house. His job would not allow him to purchase other brands of drinks. Which is funny because my Grandma S. was a Coke drinker. She would ask my Dad to pick her up a 8 pack of Coke and he would gladly do this for her, even in his Pepsi uniform.
Dad is one of the most honest people I have ever met. I have never heard him tell a lie. Not even a little fib. He really follows that rule our mom’s told us……if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.
Dad has always been there for me as an adult. Whenever I needed help doing something or something needed fixed, Dad is the first person I call. If I needed some money to get by, he is always there to help.
He has been there for my son. Dad helped teach my son to drive. He went with me to pick up my son’s first car. Dad filled up my kids’ car with gas and Dad was the one that handed my son the keys. What a great moment.
Dad has had conversations with my son to help him out and to show him what “good men” do. Dad is always there for my son. To help with car issues, high school stuff and college issues. Always there.
Dad is a jokester. He is quick witted and is always looking for a way to play a prank or make you laugh. He is the human punch line. He is always the one that offers the punch line when there shouldn’t be one.
When I was living at home mom asked dad to come help her put the sheets on the bed. So he goes in the room and I follow him because we were chatting. My mom puts one corner of the fitted sheet on the bed. She looks up at him to put his corner on and he pulls the sheet hard enough to pull her corner off. Mom looks up at him, gives him a look and just goes back to putting her corner back on. He does the same thing again. After each time my mom is getting more and more aggravated. (which is what he wants). By the 4th time, I am rolling in the floor laughing because he is just messing with her and she is getting aggravated. They are so entertaining.
I went to visit with the folks one day. I walk in the door and hear my dad coughing in the bathroom. He sounded like he was literally coughing up a lung. Just awful sounding. I asked mom if he was ok, she said “No”. They are headed to the doctor to have him checked out.
My dad comes out of the bathroom turns the corner and sees me sitting there in the kitchen. He sees that worried look I have on my face. I ask if he’s ok and he tells me “I don’t think I am”. He then sticks out his tongue and says, this can’t be normal, right? His tongue is a funky shade of blue. I about fall out of my chair and I am scared to death that something is really wrong with dad. He then says, oh that’s right I just ate a blue cough drop. I could have punched him instead, all I could do was laugh.
My dad is what you call a Good Man. He has never raised his voice to anyone. He does what he says he will do. He keeps a promise. He does the ‘right’ thing all the time. I have never heard my dad swear. He has never had an alcoholic drink to his mouth. He has never smoked. He has been faithful to mom. And serves in the church every Sunday and Wednesday.
These things he has never wavered in. Always consistent. These are some of the reasons why us kids say he wears a halo and the angels come down to polish it for him every night when he takes it off to go to sleep.
My Dad is what I have tried to raise my son as…..A Good Man. He has been a great example for us kids and the grand kids.
The grand kids, which are all adults now, call him Pop. My niece started calling him Pop as soon as she was able to speak. We even call him Pop now. The name is very suiting for him since he delivered pop for so long.
The grandkids love him so much.
My Dad is a walking miracle. Really, he is. When he had his heart attack at the age of 48. His heart stopped beating. They had to do CPR to bring him back. The type of heart attack he had generally people do not survive the attack or pass after 7-8 years. This is not the reason I say he’s a walking miracle.
He couldn’t work after the heart attack. There was nothing the doctors could do at that time. No open heart surgery or transplant because the doctors said he would never survive the procedures.
Thirteen years after the attack his heart was deteriorating. Dad’s heart doctor referred him to The Ohio State University Medical Center because his doctor had read about an experiment for muscle cell transplant to the heart. A doctor at OSU was running a trial on heart patients that were candidates.
Dad had nothing to lose by going to OSU. If he wasn’t a candidate then it was only going to be a short time before dad would no longer be here with us.
Dad and mom went to OSU, met with the doctor and his team. The trial was only accepting 13 patientsl. They ran tests and agreed that he was a prime candidate for this trial.
Which means that in those 13 years of waiting, they now could do open heart surgery on him without losing him on the table. Medical research in this area had come a long way.
It took about 3 months before they could do the procedure. They had to harvest muscle cells from my dad’s leg, send the cells to a lab to grow the cells so the cells could be injected into my dad’s heart. We had to wait before the surgery could take place.
The day arrived. After 13 years of nothing being done for my dad and just waiting. He was going to have something done to try and help/save/prolong his life.
The surgery lasted for hours. The whole family was there and even church family. We took over the waiting room. The doctor comes out and says the surgery went well but he was surprised that dad survived the surgery. Because my dad’s heart was so bad. He was living only on 10% of his heart. Hardly any blood passing through and the muscles were dead.
After his recovery and 6 months of the trial tests. There was improvement in his heart numbers. The numbers were coming up. He was feeling better. The cell transplant worked. YAY!!! A miracle.
It has been almost 25 years since that heart attack and he is still here with us.
He is in medical journals. A picture of his heart was in the Columbus newspaper. He was the only candidate that the procedure worked for.
Through all of this my dad never complained, never said “why me”, He accepted what was in front of him and once again, consistent in his actions and words.
Dad is a fighter. Never gives up. I am thankful that he is a walking miracle because that means I have got to spend all this extra time having such a wonderful man be a mentor to my son and for us to have many conversations.
Thanks for being an exceptional example for me and for my son. Thank you for always being there to help out.
Happy Father’s Day. You are the best Dad. Love ya Pop.