For My Dad: The Early Riser
This Introduction is NOT About me
and for that, I am glad. Very glad. And really, it was time for a piece like this to be published because the person that I am spotlighting is worthy of every accolade possible that could come to another mortal man. I am on one of those in-your-face, write from the heart, and take no prisoners by writing this hub. I don't really care about me, but the man I am about to tell you about. I care a lot about this man . . .My Father
Note: I published this hub a moment ago and with a flash, HubPages showed a red-lettered notice about my dad's photo being too small which was to appear here, so being the obedient sheep, I deleted my dad's photo. Although it was the only photo of him that I had that would go along with this hub . . .I wonder if sometimes rules made all so strong are good.
He Was My Father
or daddy, was in all intents, an Early Riser. His was not a garnered-title, but in all probability, a badge of personal honor that only his dad passed down when he knew that my daddy was old enough to take on the shoes of a man and work like he did each day that God sent, except Sunday. About the honor thing, I don't know. I wasn't there on Nov. 3, 1916 when my dad, Austin Avery, was born. Sadly, I missed his passing by mere moments on Sept. 25, 2006.
Frankly, I am not over his passing yet. Sure. I won't brag here, but I am familiar with "time healing all pains," "every good thing has to end," and the best one: "ashes to ashes and dust to dust." All things considered, my dad isn't here in my life. Just his priceless memories. (This piece is included in that thought).
Yes, daddy, for some reason, maybe "that" certain brand of fear that accompanied those of my dad's generations, knew what it was like to get up at daylight, work like the mule that daddy was plowing many days until dark. This was true work. Not like the work that came to me when I was 18. When I really want to feel humble and very small, all I have to do is sit down in a quiet mood and survey all of the "work" that daddy did over the course of his life and the "work"that I did in my earning years and a few tears come to my eyes.
I know now as I did then when I first noticed that my daddy's health was slowly declining, but leave it far from me or my sister or my mother to mention this fact even in the most-loving way. Why? I am not ashamed to tell you that my dad would have thought he was being insulted. Men like him did not know what the term "burn-out" meant. Men like my dad went from early sunrise, like I said, to dusky dark. And still, there were those family chores so prevalent for those of his lifetime. Livestock was needed feeding, firewood cut and brought to (his) mother's wood stove for cooking breakfast the next morning if it were a work day. In any regard, daddy rose to meet the sun even on Sunday morning when he could have sneaked by and slept a few more needed-minutes.
But for him to sneak by anything--work, providing, doing a job and just living on what he said that he would do took it all from my daddy because he gave his all. I confess. When I was healthy and young enough to pull those double shifts in the local newspaper business, I did take a few coffee breaks during the hours of 3 a.m. until 7 a.m., but not that many. For somehow I always thought that I could feel my dad watching over my shoulder. And with "that" type of motivation, I just wanted to make him proud of my work, my life, and to top it off, him.
Then Came the Time
when my dad like many others in his neighborhood, went to the United States Army for these men called their trip "going to be examined" at Montgomery, Ala., at Maxwell Field where he and his friends were put through several tests, physical soundness, and even strength. Guess what? I am bragging here: my dad passed with flying colors.
He served the charge of his officers with pride, dignity and respect not only for his superiors, but to the Army itself. He would sometimes laugh and share with me (when I was older), how tough it was being a long way from home and having to move as fast as a cat when a sergeant or officer above that would "bark" orders at him and his friends in the Army Basic Training and the one story he liked to tell was how he was made to crawl on his back with an M-1 rifle, full back pack underneath barbed wire while live ammunition was being fired over his head and others. But did he choke? Are you nuts? If you even doubt that he not only stood the training, but became close friends with those in his platoon. Or you haven't been reading what I have talked about with you concerning my dad.
With Army Life now Being
history, my dad came home and decided that he wanted to be a farmer. So he did. With a mule and few pieces of equipment, he made several crops before I came along and even before I married, he would show us photos of him in the field and photos of the prettiest girl in Mississippi: My blessed mom, Mary Dean (Lee), born June 2, 1922. Passed August 19, 2010.
Theirs was a long marriage, but to be fair, they endured lots of hardships in those 60 plus years. And yes, in all of their marriage, even when they reached retirement, daddy was always the first one up because he wanted to get an early start on the day--or that is what I would like to believe. He cooked the morning meal so my mom would sleep and get some needed-rest as her health was not that good, but she carried on in his final days.
I remember well the afternoons when the sickness had taken its toll on his once-husky body--now he just lay there on his bed, frail and weak with eyes set and each breath was labored. There were those times when I stood by his bed and although he didn't reply, I truly believe that he heard me shed tears of grief as I watched (and felt) the torment that was about to take him from life.
But daddy took it all each pain to the next. He never complained or tried to cause any trouble. I think, if I am anyone to think that he wanted to pass on as he lived . ..with dignity.
I miss and love you, Early Riser. I think that I will simply call him "Dad." Happy Father's Day!
Note: I can assure you that none, not one fact or reference in this piece was exaggerated. If I were tempted to stretch the truth, I would cringe and say, what's the point? But I just want all of you to know that the entire body of work in this hub is True. All true . . .
And you can believe this or not. I do. And that's all that matters.
June 9, 2018___________________________________________
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© 2018 Kenneth Avery