Happy Father’s Day

This was originally posted on Sunday, June 17, 2016.

Gerald Delane Hall 

Husband

  

Father

  
Grandfather    

Brother
  

Son 

Great grandfather
  
Friend 
A special man, my dad, not perfect, heck, he didn’t even try to be. But he was fun:

–Teller of inappropriate jokes, and a gambling fool.

–Measurer of miles in terms of six packs consumed.

–Lacking political correctness, yet treated everyone as an equal.

–Maker of friends wherever he went.

–Soft of heart.

–My biggest fan.

I miss this man. 

I Wish You Could Know This Day (For My Dad)

I Wish You Could Have Known This Day by Leslie Noyes 

I wish you could have known this day, green life yearning up through the earth, bright warmth bearing 

Down from the sky. The warning screech of a protective mother guarding her threatened nest 

Upstaging a chorus of cicadas running through their limited range of vocal exercises. A pair of 

Cardinals flirting outrageously, too caught up in their dance to worry about me. How I wish you were here.

We talk about how much you’d have loved this place. I can picture you scolding the squirrels, even as

You throw tidbits of your breakfast to them.    You’d have sat on the porch, smoking and chatting up the

Neighbors. You remembered first names. 

Daddy and the Perfect Bag

Every day I spend a little time thinking about my Daddy. I don’t plan to; it just happens. He was quite a guy, and he impacted our lives in many ways.

Studly Doright and I were privileged to have Daddy live with us the last few years of his life, and it was a great experience for all of us; although, I’m sure Daddy often thought we were nuts. That’s ok, he was a little nuts, too.

Daddy loved golf and was in part responsible for Studly playing. But, by the time he moved to Melbourne, FL, where we lived at the time, Daddy’s COPD prevented him from hitting the course as much as he’d have liked. 

He still played a few times, though, even earning a “Closest to the Pin” trophy in a charity tournament.  Man, was he proud of that trophy! Any visitor to our home was invited to gaze on it in awe.

Long after Daddy stopped playing he would sit out in our garage imagining courses he’d played in years gone by and putting together the perfect set of clubs for a round of golf there. Often Studly would go looking for one of his clubs only to find it taking up space in Daddy’s “dream bag.”

“Gerald,” Studly would ask, “Have you seen my 5 wood?”

“Yeah, it might be in my bag,” Daddy would say. “I was thinking of number 4 at the Floydada Country Club. I thought I could reach the green with that 5 wood.”

Even now that Daddy has been gone for many years we still go looking in his bag anytime a club is missing, just in case he needed it for that perfect round.

Miss you Daddy. I hope you’ve got just the right clubs for whatever course you’re playing now.

Daddy holding his oldest great-grandson.

 

Random Thoughts

My cold has faded to a manageable annoyance, leaving me with a slightly sexy rasp instead of my normal high-pitched twang. It’s my favorite stage of the illness, and I wonder why I couldn’t have just fast-forward to the good part.

We had a doozy of a thunderstorm last night. The sky this morning is a gray blue, and the forest looks like something out of a fairy tale, all vine-y and mysterious. A migrating flock of ducks has landed on Lake Yvette, periodically hassled by a nesting pair of snowy egrets. I tried taking a picture, but only ended up startling all parties involved. (See below)

My dad would have loved sitting out on the back porch, having a cup of coffee, and of course his ever present cigarette. He’d have said, “Sis, look at this.” Or, “I just saw something run through the brush right there.” We’d speculate as to what he’d seen, maybe catching another glimpse, maybe not.

And he and I would just sit watching the woods all morning, pausing only to fetch another cup of coffee.

IMG_2666
The ducks weren’t that crazy about me snapping a picture.

Peace, People.

What’s a Gingy?

When our son was born, my mom decided that she wanted to be called Grandmother. Not Granny or Grandma, Nana or Mimi. Grandmother. Well, that was all well and good, but our son had other ideas. Jason didn’t talk early. We began to wonder if he’d ever talk at all, but by three he had a decent vocabulary. Try as he might, though, he could not say Grandmother or Grandaddy. What emerged was something that sounded a lot like Gingy, so my parents, for better or worse, became Gingymama and Gingydaddy. And, since he was the first of the grandchildren, it stuck.

Daddy’s 81st birthday would have been yesterday, and since yesterday’s post was on the sappy side I thought I’d have my children and nieces and nephews post their memories of their Gingydaddy.

Jason texted, “Him rescuing me from the side of a mountain…teaching me to pee without unbuttoning my pants aka the utility of the zipper…first set of golf clubs…how to flirt…taught me how to use a knife to slice an apple….”

Ignoring the pee remark, I asked him what Gingy had told him about flirting

“I just learned by example….”

Sounds like some valuable lessons Gingy was passing along. He was a hopeless flirt.

Ashley texted, “Genius,” was his email password, but he could never remember how to spell it! He had to cut Christopher’s seatbelt off when the Gingys took us three oldest grand kids to California. He called one of his nurses Donut Girl. He never fully stopped at a stoplight; he always inched forward until the light turned green. How he always had to show us off when we’d go visit him at whatever grocery store he worked at. Oh, and the seatbelt! He would never buckle the damn belt, just held it right above the clicker while he drove to fool the cops. He never met a stranger.”

My niece Claire, said, “Sitting in lawn chairs in the garage with the door open just talking about life and laughing about him getting numbers from the ladies from the piggly wiggly!”

Nephew Christopher added, “Easy! Eating Oreos with iced milk.” I think he made sure all the grand kids experienced the joy of Oreos in milk.

Hanna added this to the group text, “Fishing in the little pond in red river, nm 😊”

Their memories are all so different because Gingydaddy was easygoing. He was able to live in the moment and find ways to connect with each of his grandchildren.

Gingydaddy loved taking the kids on vacation. I think the saddest thing for him about his COPD was that he could no longer make those big memory-making trips. Daddy told me once that if he’d known he was going to live into his 70’s he’d have taken a lot better care of himself. Damned cigarettes. Damned habit.

Peace and Good Memories, People!

Not Just Any Man

He was my daddy, and I was his little girl. Not biologically, but in every way that mattered. I don’t remember when he came into my life, I just know that he was always there when it mattered. According to my mother, I had Daddy wrapped around my little finger from the moment we met. Again, I don’t remember that. I just remember enjoying every moment I spent with him.

One of my earliest memories Is of a time that Daddy and I drove together to a football game in Amarillo. From the age of four, I was Daddy’s football watching buddy. He taught me about first downs and illegal blocks, quarterback sneaks and Hail Mary passes. Living in small town Texas we were avid fans of the the local high school team, the Floydada Whirlwinds. We seldom, if ever, missed a game. Usually, we attended as a family, but on this occasion Mom stayed home in protest, saying it was too cold.

I vividly remember the drive to the game. I was standing in the seat next to Daddy (we used the old “parental arm” method of child safety restraint back then). Snow was falling in huge flakes, covering the road and making it hard for us to see. To keep me occupied, Daddy taught me to watch the odometer so I could count off the miles to Amarillo. Pretty soon, I could pinpoint a mile with my eyes closed. It seemed like a really long distance! According to family legend when we got to the game everyone was amazed that he’d brought me with him, driving into one of the worst storms in memory. My Nanny and Grandaddy were there and I snuggled into the warmth of my family to watch the Whirlwinds win. I don’t remember the cold, just the love.

Daddy managed the Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Floydada for many years. As soon as I was old enough I’d walk to the store–we only lived a couple of blocks away–to see Daddy and spend my allowance money. I got the hefty sum of $1 a week, coincidentally one could buy a 45 rpm record at Piggly Wiggly for 99 cents at the time, so I had quite the collection. No matter what he was doing, Daddy would stop and give me a hug and a kiss. If he wasn’t terribly busy he’d ask me to tag along. I got to go behind the swinging doors to smell the fresh produce as it came in. I got to watch the butchers cut meat with the huge slicer. I got to be part of his world.

That world continued to turn. Daddy had his own store for awhile, but when that didn’t pan out we moved to Dumas. The Piggly Wiggly chain closed its stores in Texas and Mom and Dad moved to Canyon and then several years later, to Abilene. My brothers and I had all grown up, moved away, and started our own families. Life was as it should be.

Then we lost Mom to cancer. After Mom passed away Daddy’s life changed dramatically. He was still working, so he’d could take some memorable trips. He took one to California to spend time with his sisters. He traveled to our home in Kansas and to the homes of my brothers. He’d take off and head to the casinos on occasion.

Daddy and I went to Ruidoso, New Mexico, one weekend for the most fun I’ve ever had losing money. I’d driven from Kansas to see him, and I hadn’t been at his tiny apartment for longer than 15 minutes before he said, “Sis, you want to go to the casino?” So off we went. Daddy hit a hot streak at the blackjack table while I lost at slots. Every now and then I’d wander by his table and he’d hand me a stack of chips that I’d pocket. He decided I was the best gambling partner he’d ever had since he actually took home some money. He took me to the horse races and told me I bet just like my mom, code for, “you aren’t very good at this,” but again he won some money and said I could gamble with him any time. That was high praise, indeed.

Then the grocery store Daddy had been working for closed with no advance notice. Studly invited him to move in with us. Our kids were grown by then and we’d been transferred to Florida. We had plenty of room and sunshine year round. Yet he declined. He didn’t want to be in the way. Finally Studly insisted. Daddy was sick and really needed to be closer to family. So, we had Daddy with us.

Those were great years. Daddy and I got to know each other as adults. He told me stories about his Navy days that left me speechless. Stories I cannot repeat here. Great Stories. He and Studly played golf as long as Daddy was able, and even after his COPD no longer allowed him to play he’d hang out in the garage and create the perfect bag of clubs for a particular course.

Studly earned a nice promotion that prompted Daddy to call him The Director, from that point on, and was transferred to Illinois, so while Studly worked, Daddy and I explored our new state. I started doing some substitute teaching and Daddy hung out around the house. He had his daily routines and a nice little pickup truck, but he spent a lot of time sitting on our front porch and interacting with our neighbors. No matter where he went, he made friends. And we got to talk. We still enjoyed our football games and he’d still make an occasional run to the casino in Peoria, but his lung disease was getting the best of him.

His last days were spent in the hospital. We had made arrangements for hospice care, and on the day before we were to take him home, he perked up dramatically. He and my brother Kelly and I had the best day. We talked and made plans. We reminisced and laughed. When Kelly stepped out of the room to take a call, Daddy said to me, “Sis, in case I forget to tell you, I really had a great time with you and your brother today.”

That night he had a stroke and he passed away the next evening. Today would have been his birthday. My Daddy, my love. I miss him every day.

Peace and Love, People.