Hey y'all! I'm going to go ahead & warn you this is an emotional post for me. In the late 60's, during the Vietnam War, my father was drafted into the Army. While I wasn't told every story, I did hear a few funny ones.
It wasn't long before he was injured and sent home. Several years later, he met my mom. Even though the VA told him he wouldn't have children he had 3 of us.
I had a lot of challenges and changes growing up, but my dad was always there. He taught me how to shoot using a BB gun and a posterboard with coin targets. He coached my softball team for a few years. He took me to volunteer for the GA Wildlife Federation. When I was old enough he took me to get my hunting license(which he held on to all of these years) and then out into the woods with him. He came to my JROTC drill meets in high school. Taught me how to cook, bake, and lots of other things.
I remember lots of times when we would to go the hot dog place outside of the nearby Army Base before or after we went to the commissary. If he had an appointment downtown we'd always go to the Varsity, one of his favorite places to go eat. In fact, he got me hooked on a few things there. He laughed that for my 13th birthday I wanted to have lunch at Hooters because they had some awesome wings back then.
In the past dozen, or so, years we spoke multiple times a week. When my
son was born, he was full on Papa. He would take him for a weekend or a
week to spend time with him. Letting him hang out at the bowling alley
& spoiling him like crazy. People look at me strangely when I tell
them my kid has been bowling since before he could walk. He was
picking up 16lb. bowling balls before then too.
He got me hooked on NCIS and I got him hooked on the Wild West Shrimp at Longhorn. I would go visit him for a week at a time or he would come see me. We've seen so many movies together that it's not even funny. One movie he suggested to me is the HBO movie, Taking Chance. If you haven't seen it yet make sure you have plenty of tissues handy. Needless to say after I watched it, I called & yelled at him for making me watch such an emotional movie without warning me.
I didn't really put much about it out there on my social media, but some of my blogging and personal friends know. Earlier this year my father, my hero and the first guy who ever had my heart, had a stroke. Without going into all of the details he passed away about a month later.
The leather coin purse that I'm holding in each picture is something he made for my grandmother while he was over in Vietnam. She gave this to me several years ago and I've kept it in my purse since. Every time I take it out, I'm reminded of the both of them.
I always made it a point to call my father on Veterans Day and thank him for his service. It also gave me the opportunity to see how his day of eating with other Veterans went. I remember one time he told me there was a super long wait, so a couple invited him to dine with them. He would always make new friends everywhere he went. Even going with him to doctors appointments was enlightening. I'd see all these veterans walking around or willing to strike up a convo over anything. One time, when the kiddo was little, I had him with us & he fell asleep standing up and bent over into a chair. Someone looked over and asked if he was really asleep then laughed when I told him he does it all the time. His response, "That kid is going to make a good soldier one day."
My son has wanted to go into the Army since he was a toddler. He says he wants to be just like his Papa. Hearing that, makes me proud. I tell him that no matter what he wants to do, I will always support him.
I'm sorry if this post was a bit all over the place. I miss my father more than anything & I just wanted to honor him on this day in some small way. If you happen to be out today, and see a veteran, please thank him or her for their service. If they are a loved one, please give them a hug.