I was sitting here at my computer this afternoon, counting my many blessings and thought of one of the better decisions I have ever made in my life, but before I go into that day I want you all to know that I couldn’t possibly have had any better parents or siblings. I so enjoyed watching and listening to my Mom and Dad interacting with one another; they truly loved and enjoyed their time together. They laughed and joked around much of the time; especially when they would do dishes or other housework together which was practically every day when I was in high school and living at their trailer court. I remember once when they were kidding around and Dad popped Mom from behind with the dish towel; she laughed and grabbed a stick that was holding up the kitchen window by the sink and went after him, he squealed and started back stepping to stay out of her way and fell across the bed across the hall and laid on his back with his legs above his head. She started swatting him with the stick when all of a sudden he got the most startled look on his face and she stopped; it turns out that the stick had a little hail through the end and she had landed a whack with that; of course she was sorry about the whole deal but they both almost collapsed in laughter! They had so... much fun.
Even though I always felt loved I didn’t remember ever hearing my Dad tell me he loved me; men in those days were very reserved. I knew one man who was not reserved and that was my Mothers baby brother Floyd King, he didn’t care what anybody thought as he was big enough to take care of anything or anybody; he used to embarrass me and I’m sure my Dad; if Uncle Floyd had been away from the family for any length of time he would grab you in a bear hug and kiss you on the cheek when he saw you; of course nobody ever said anything as that was just Uncle Floyd and that was the way it was. You need to realize that Uncle Floyd had been a tri-state Golden Glove, heavyweight boxer in his younger years and was afraid of no one. I naturally, as I was growing up, wanted to be like him and even went out for boxing in high school for a short time but they always stopped the fight as soon as I got tagged on the nose since it would bleed rivers of blood; I (thought) knew if they would have let me go, even though bleeding, that I could have whipped every one of those guys. But, as everybody knows, they have silly rules in high school.
When we would go home for a visit after we got into the Air Force, Dad would come up to me stick out his hand for a handshake and give me kind of a halfway hug, which I would return. I decided that wasn’t good enough and thought about it for months before we went home again; I had decided that in one thing I preferred to be more like Uncle Floyd than my Dad.
The next time we went home we drove into the driveway at the trailer court and Dad came out to greet us. He stuck out his hand, I grabbed it and pulled him into me, gave him a kiss on the cheek and said “I love you Dad” He kind of stuttered a bit and said “I love you too son” We both had tears in our eyes and our greetings and goodbyes always included that kiss for the rest of his life and he would initiate it. I still consider that one of the wisest decisions I have ever made.
I determined from that day on to never be lax in letting my boys know that I loved them and to kiss them when departing or returning from anyplace; it was not easy at first due to my upbringing but I am so grateful that I stuck with it. I remember at times when a lot of people were around I still felt a bit nervous about it. But I started early enough with the boys that they thought nothing about it and when I would drop them off at school, or anyplace, they would all give me a kiss even if the whole gang was watching. As wild and rowdy as we all have been, I’m sure, nobody ever thought of any of us as sissy’s.
I want you all to know that I love you and am so grateful that we all are not afraid to show our love and gratitude for one another.
When I think about my Dad and that first time he kissed me and told me he loved me I still get teary. I’m sure he may have done that when I was a baby but I hadn’t remembered. I am also grateful for my Uncle Floyd who was my example of a “He Man” that had a very soft and loving heart.
Then of course we must not forget the girls! They never seemed to believe me that I couldn’t stand little girls, no matter how convincing I tried to be. The time I remember the best is when I came in the back door from an extended trip Ryanne was hugging my leg while I was kissing everybody hello, I looked down at her and said “you know I can’t stand little girls!” She smiled sweetly and said “But I love you Daddy” I was a complete failure with the girls too! I never fooled anybody!!!