Leveler of Us All: Recalled Reflection on My Late Father
Along with the details of Uncle Jarrell's funeral, I received the above image from my Uncle Cran, along with these words explaining that Aunt Virginia took the photo:
Just before the graveside service [for Jarrell], Virginia and I located Bradley's grave, and here is a photo of the headstone that [Bradley's wife] Dorothy placed there: Virginia made this.Some readers may have read words that I posted about my father six years ago on this blog
I . . . recall his method of toughening me up for life and making sure that I became self-reliant. Only five years old, I was playing barefoot outside with other boys while my father stood talking to some neighbors who were laying concrete for their patio. A dump truck parked in their driveway contained sand for the cement mix, and as the day grew progressively hotter with the sun climbing ever higher in the sky, heating the streets, the sidewalks, the driveway, the ground, and the sand in the dump truck where I happened to be playing, the soles of my feet started to burn.That last remark wasn't quite right, for he did press me rather forcefully toward self-reliance, and that's certainly an influence -- though the type of self-reliance he forced on me left him without other kinds of influence.
I climbed down from the truck, burning my feet even more on its hot metal, and ran to my father, asking him to pick me up. He refused.
"But my feet are burning," I told him, hopping first on one foot and then on the other.
"Go home, put some shoes on," he retorted, not offering to help.
I went, running alone from shade to shade, until I reached our empty house, where I rinsed my feet with cold water to quench the fire...
I asked nothing of my father after that, which was perhaps his intention, and I grew up without his influence, which was perhaps not his intention.
Anyway, from the photograph, I see that his wife Dorothy is still living. They seem to have been married about 23 years when he died -- a happy marriage, I am told. So much of life's happiness depends upon finding the right partner, and my father appears to have found the right one after searching for a few years. I'm also told that his step-children liked him. I suspect he employed other methods for teaching them self-reliance.
Odd, how things turn out, but as is said, life goes on . . . until it meets the leveler of us all.