I am Karan from Olympia, WA. Almost every other name used here is a pseodonym pseudonim pseudonymn alias. The rest of it is true - mostly - and all of it is my own. Don't even think about taking any of it, unless of course, you want to pay me.

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    om namay padmay om

    [ Tuesday, April 01, 2014 ]

    To the dad in my life, redeux

    I wrote this on Father’s Day, June 21, 2009, today I share it on the day of his death, a few days shy of 96 years.

    To the dad in my life and nope, I don’t mean Leonard although he is the best dad I could have possibly selected for my children.  The dad I wish to salute today is my father-in-law, Ralph.

    A quick biography: 

    Ralph is born in 1918, is the third of 6 children - a Montana son of a second generation pioneer woman and a railroad man.  His father’s family-man skills left much to be desired...or rather perhaps the more accurate way to portray him is that he spread himself too thin...with a wife and children at each end of the line.  His father’s lack of a full commitment in presence and financial support left Ralph and his family to struggle at times and when it became necessary to work just to bring food to the larder, Ralph and his brothers quit school and signed on with the railroad, the only employer in town.

    When he was about 18, his mother packed him a lunch with two sandwiches and a bottle of water, waved him good-bye and he boarded the train bound for California.  In his pocket, his life savings totalling $31.  His plan was to join a friend in Ventura and sell men’s shoes and suits in that tiny burg and I’ve seen a picture of him standing along side the surf line as he touches the Pacific Ocean for the first time.  Eventually he joined the war effort and spent his entire enlistment based in Sausalito, California.  Not bad duty if you ask me.  During that time, he tells a story about paying another airman $5 to cover his turn on duty so that he could go off base for a weekend job pushing a broom and earn $7.  It so happens that his broom pushing job was with a packaging company that offered him a job immediately upon his separation from military life.  It was also at that same company he would eventually meet the love of his life, Daisy, not coincidently, Leonard’s mom.

    Time passed, Ralph learned the business, started his own highly successful packaging company and with Daisy, raised three children.  By all accounts he was a strict dad but never did any of his children doubt his love of them.  I met Leonard in 1979 and was welcomed open-armed into his family.  It is the way of that family to collect and hold dear those that cross their paths.  I still feel very lucky to have become one of them.  When Daisy died in 1997, Ralph was devastated but actively worked through his grief.  It was during this time, that I grew to adore him and I think, if I can be so bold, he grew very fond of me.  I feel like rather than the woman his son married, I became another daughter to him and he became the father figure I missed in my own dad. Anyway, Ralph is 91 years old now.  He is starting to fail physically and I think his memory isn’t quite what it was earlier in his life.  (that statement there is pot calling kettle black) No matter, I love him much and I am more than willing to care for him when the time comes. 

    I am certain that never during his lifetime did he fail as son, brother, friend, father or grandfather.  Integrity is paramount in his book and even though he has enjoyed success in all walks of life, he remains modest and appreciative of all that has come his way.  If he were telling his own story, it would include funny little stories of his youth, how he met and courted Daisy plus side notes about what he considers to be personal failures.  He is much embarrassed by his lack of a high school diploma and no amount of reminding him of his accomplishments erases that “short-coming”.  He revels in the successes of his children, taking not one ounce of credit for the fine brood he begat or the integrity and example he’s provided and continues to provide.

    So to Ralph, the man who in all ways is my father too, thank you much for being in my life!

    Posted by karan on 04/01 at 12:30 PM
    Page 1 of 1 pages

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