Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day II

I enjoyed reading John's blog celebrating his father on this Father's Day. Rather than add my remarks as a "comment" to his blog, I figured I might as well make my comment a blog all its own...'cause I'm sure I'd get long-winded.

Unlike most of yours (I imagine), my father is still alive. However, his life is slipping away as I type this and I'm sure this will be the last Father's Day I have with him.

I don't want to be morbid, but the truth is, my Dad is rapidly, and finally, reaching the end of his long life. All of his siblings have been rotating along this last long road Dad is on, trying to keep him best we (and the hospice workers) can. Dad's condition is terminal, but in a sense, so is all of ours. I don't know of anyone who has escaped this life alive, except Jesus (and even he had to suffer death first).

Everyone who has lost a parent has had to endure similar circumstances, I'm sure, so my story isn't meant to sound exceptional. However, because it's Father's Day, I'm taking the liberty of expressing some of my memories of the man who's lying in a bed in the next room, waiting for his final breath, Dad.

Like John's (and many...if not most...of you), my Dad was a special Dad. I couldn't begin to list all of the lessons he's taught me over the years. Suffice it to say that were it not for him and his support and sacrifices over the years, my life would have turned out much different. I credit him (and God, through him) for the successes that I've enjoyed in my life. I could make a long list of the things he's done for me, but I won't do that to you.

I can't help but think that my Dad started his life with a handicap. His parents named him Eli Lonzo! Can you imagine, as a man, being called Eli Lonzo? Over the years, I've heard some of his friends call him Eli, but most, Lonzo. I believe there were some that called him Lonnie (a derivative of Lonzo, I guess) and maybe not coincidentally, that's what he and Mom gave me as a middle name: Lonnie.

Dad was born on October 3, 1919. He left home in Lovings when he was sixteen and hitch-hiked to California with $6.00 in his pocket, hoping to find a job. As unbelievable as that is to me, his first few years as an 'adult' were even more so. He survived, though, and eventually went into the military service, married my Mom, and raised a family. Over the years, he's worked in fruit orchards, oil fields, aircraft plants, coal mines, and, eventually, as a civil servant with the Post Office. He's served in many capacities at his Church, he's a Mason, and he served as Heavener's City Judge for several years. With his 'judge' credentials, he officiated three of his grand-children's weddings, and he traveled with me to New York, when he was in his 80's, to perform a Bible reading in my son's wedding there.

It would be an understatement to say that Dad has had lots of memorable experiences in his life. I'm glad that I haven't had nearly as many...thanks to Dad, because I wouldn't rate some of his as enjoyable.

Now, Dad lies in wait....barely breathing, ...waiting for the end to come to the life that caused so much happiness for so many that knew him. It hurts me to see him in pain and having to suffer the embarrassment of having his children handle his every need. Is there not a better way? Maybe not.

So, on this Father's Day, as many remember those Dad's that have long since left this life, I can stand by my Dad's side one more time and tell him how much I appreciated the life he gave me. I won't know if he really understands what I'm saying, but I'll say it just the same. Happy Father's Day, Dad.


At June 21, 2009 at 1:46 PM , Blogger Kathy Bain Dunn said...

Chuck, I have some great memories of your Dad as a mail carrier on the west side of town. He stopped every day at about 10:30 at my grandparents house for milk and a snack. Mama Bonnie was sure it was medically necessary, but I remember they all cherished the time to visit. I guess Lonzo was their nephew, maybe. I think Uncle John (my Daddy Tom's brother) was Lonzo's dad. Does that sound right? Boy, these are things I haven't thought about in years.

At June 21, 2009 at 4:10 PM , Blogger colin said...

Chuck, This was a well written tribute to a very good man and written by a son who is a mighty good fellow himself.

At June 21, 2009 at 11:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've told you before all the funny stories my dad used to tell me about Lonzo. I'll never forget either of them, they were such close friends. And Bob Cash, too.


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