This is my dad.
He was born in the Picher-Cardin area of Oklahoma in 1943, the youngest of four children. He grew up next to the railroad tracks, on the wrong side. The house he lived in with his mom, brothers and sister, a "shotgun" style shack, was heated with only a pot-bellied stove. He used to tell stories of being a very small child and running alongside the trains as they rolled slowly through town and begging for coal, which, if they were lucky, the engineers would throw off the train for them to pick up. For a while, they even lived in a rummaged tent on the banks of Tar Creek.
When he was in the 2nd grade he spent a year in the children's hospital in Tulsa from a combination of a brain surgery and rheumatic fever. As a result of this, his mother was told that her was was "delicate" and would not live past the age of 21.
In spite of a rough start to his life, my father chose to meet life head on with a positive, can-do attitude. He became a golden gloves boxer. He loved dancing at the local teen hangout The Mutt Hut in Miami, where his mom eventually settled. He learned to build houses and eventually became a master carpenter.
He brought that same energy and love of life to being a father and a husband. He went to every sporting event my brother and I had, every school program, every piano recital. He made sure we explored our community. He also made sure to leave my brother and I at grandma's house once in a while so he could spend quality time with just my mom.
He loved to travel, so every summer we would load up the car and take off on some grand adventure. We explored our state as well as striking our for the big tourists states of Texas, Colorado, and California. He absolutely loved Disney, even going so far as to take me, my husband, and children to Disney World so he and my mom could experience Disney with his grandchildren.
I don't know just what had my thoughts turning towards my daddy tonight, but it was very nice reliving memories of him with Caleb. We spend a very pleasant evening eating ice cream (dad's favorite treat!) and laughing together as we shared stories. Since my dad died 8 years ago, it makes me happy that Caleb has retained such rich, vibrant memories of his grandfather.