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Well … I was all set at this time to unload my usual wisps of knowledge on things of present day interest when – wham! – a friend, (actually not just a friend but a former neighbor from where I lived in the country) hailed me on the street.
I hadn’t seen her for a long time, but the usual, expected greeting was not a question of how I might be or am doing, rather, a not-so-subtle demand I “talk some more about (my daddy).”
She said “your dad,” but when I think about him it most often comes out in my mind as “daddy.”
Isn’t that normal for most little girls who love or loved their daddy, even when the relationship is or was not always vocal or vividly apparent and sometimes not even co-habitable for a variety of reasons?
I think of him often in the many varied ways relayed to me by those who were in contact with him in a relative or associated way.
Daddy was not a talkative man in that he would not likely be seen leaning on a fence post or an automobile fender for an hour-long chat with a friend or neighbor or visitor.
But he could easily get his comments and opinions across with reasonable clarity and speed once engaged.
I always saw him as a person who would do what he said he would do and be accountable for every thing expected responsible for.
When I was a young girl just out of high school and looking toward what avenues of employment might be available to me, I was approached by the possibility of entering into the service of my country, possibly in ground or air defense.
All of my mother’s family, both male and female, had served in the Canadian Armed Forces during World War II, so she saw nothing wrong with the idea.
However, my father, who had served during World War I, was adamantly against my serving in any shape or form. There were no options allowed, and I was forever left wondering what might have been his reasoning, but I was – in a tenuous way – satisfied with his decision.
In later years, I understood better what his words meant, but it wasn’t always that way when I was younger and dutifully shadowed his every step.
If a male visitor came to speak with him, I would always want to linger at their heels, only to be shooed away vigorously. They needed to talk about things not for “little ears.” I’d cry, but in being a “grown-up,” he never seemed to grasp the depth of my distress.
Early on, I’d been given one of my daddy’s old tobacco pipes with which to blow soap bubbles. One day I couldn’t find my own pipe so I used the one I found in the kitchen. The bubbles tasted terrible, so I put it back where I found it.
Daddy was really upset with me, but he never smoked a pipe again after that, which made Mommy happy.
I have many more memories; perhaps I shall revisit them again at another time.
Lois Eckhardt may be reached at P.O. Box 413, Wellman, IA 52356.