Sunday, June 19, 2011

Remembering

I can still smell his pharmacy jacket...see his crooked smile...watch him as he would sit and read the paper with his glasses dangling from his mouth.

I can hear him quietly talk...to anyone about anything...probably the most friendliest person I have ever known. 

He was a compassionate pharmacist.  Back in the day, when private  pharmacies were as much a part of the town as family run grocery stores and dime stores, he was the pharmacist who would be there to help out any sick person when called upon at any time of the day or night.

I remember how he would take the time after closing hours to drive medications to the elderly and sick or even have us kids do it for him.  I remember how he would drive medications out to the monks at the Abbey. He always went beyond.

He  took us on a  yearly vacation to northern Wisconsin.  He'd sit in the shadows not only because he was so very pale and would burn easily but to soak in the excitement that radiated from his children.  He would patiently untangle the fishing lines that were cast into the fir trees by his children "practicing their casting."

I can still see his round bucket hat and the life jacket he wore every single year.  Dad quietly encouraged us, without being pushy, to learn to water ski or swim to the raft, even though he didn't do that himself.

Going out to eat.  Very rare and only for very special occasions.  Our favorite place was Monari's 101 Supper Club...down by the old railroad station in LaSalle.   Once in a blue moon, he would bring some McDonald's home for dinner.  Everyone got a cheeseburger and we had to pair up and split a small bag of fries.  We thought we had the best dad when we were treated to a McDonald dinner!

And for you history buffs...

On his afternoon off, Dad would drop us off at the I & M canal with our bikes.  We would bike 6 miles along the tow paths to the next town over.  Dad , in the meantime, would drive the car to the other side and meet us there at an Irish pub.   We'd bike up hot and thirsty, and he would buy us a soda.  I can still picture sitting on a sleek, wooden barstool next to my Dad, watching the Cubs on WGN and drinking a soda.

Those were the days when walking into a clean, friendly pub with your kids for a soda was common.

Dad didn't push us into sports.  He would support us in what we dabbled in, mostly baseball and softball.  He came to our ballgames whenever he could squeeze in the time, even if it meant sitting only for 2 or 3 innings when, alas, he'd bike away and head to work.  He would phone home to find out how it ended.

As a teenager, I recall walking in after work and he'd be up waiting for me.  He said he was watching the news, but I know he stayed up to talk.  He tried to keep in touch with his teenage children and grasped any free time.

He was strict with our employment.  We had to work when we turned the legal age.  No questions asked.  And long before that, we corn detassled...I was 11 when I started that awful, hot, miserable work.  He instilled a good work ethic in us.  No laziness allowed.

He lived his faith quietly...not talking about it very much at all but living it.  He kept a rosary close to him always.  I know that next to God and his family, his next greatest love was the priesthood.  If he hadn't met my mother, I know he would have been a priest.  A happy, quiet monk.

He was the duck that allowed most everything to roll off of his back.  He had a gift of keeping his tongue and not spouting back.  There were many times that I had wished he stand up for himself more, but in the end, his daily actions had culminated into a grace-filled, holy death.  (Not to be confused with a pain-free death.)




He was blessed with the happy death that we all pray for, and I was blessed to have had such a man for a father.

Even though some of our fathers may not be with us physically today, they are indeed present in spirit, and if we truly appreciate them, they live through our actions as we grow deeper into parenthood ourselves.

Wishing my father and husband, brothers and in-laws, and friends a very happy and blessed Father's Day!

~  Patty  ~

4 comments:

  1. Patty, your dad sounds like a wonderful man and this is a beautiful tribute to him!

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  2. Wonderful post about a beautiful fatherly soul, Patty. I know I've said this before but you really have a great story-telling/memory:) It's so important to write and remember those who we love and miss. Thank you for sharing a bit of your childhood. Sometimes I yearn for those simple times and days like you described....Sounds like you were raised with great values and virtue...What a blessing.

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  3. Beautiful post Patty. You are so blessed to have such wonderful childhood memories. And look what memories you are making with your own kiddos because of that great papa bear!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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