Monday, June 22, 2009

Two Great Men, Our Fathers

Dad at the Grand Canyon, May of this year.
Dad with his brother, Harley.
Dad as a very young and handsome soldier with the Army/Air Force
Robert, with family. Left to right: Robert, Dale, Faye, Donnie and Grandma Bessie.
Robert with Dwane, David and Helen, what a sweet family.
Helen, Robert with the baby, Danny.

I decided to post a blog, honoring our fathers, our dads, our daddy o's. First I want to start with Danny's dad, Robert Hillhouse. I never met him, this makes me sad, mostly that our children were short-changed out of another grandpa, another person who could tell stories about when their dad was little and bounce them on his knee and tickle them and be so proud of the wonderful young adults his grandchildren have become. I didn't get to know this man, I think he would have liked me, I think he has always been a guardian angel to our family and watched over his baby. I think he would have been proud with how his own boys turned out, all three outstanding men, solid, fair, kind and loving just as he was. He loved children, but that is a trait of the Hillhouse guys, they love children, they love being around kids, teasing and tormenting, giving hugs and lots of praise to not only their own but to all around them. He loved horses, I guess you could call him a cowboy or a horseman, probably a cowboy would have suited him better, one of his saddles is displayed proudly in my kitchen, any child who enters the house is allowed to sit and rock on it, I think he would highly approve. He loved sweets, especially chocolate, he was skinny, a hardworker, a loving husband, a father that took the time to teach and love his boys and he also died too young. Danny was only a teenager when he lost his dad, the impact will always be with him, he has always tried so hard to make sure he did everything he could with his kids, "just in case". I think Danny is probably like him in a lot of ways, but he is also very strong like the mom who finished raising him into adulthood, together they scratched by to make a home and living after Robert passed away, it takes a lot of faith and courage to hold everything together, and they did. I wish he was here to see all of the great-grand babies, all 6 of the great-grand boys and the soon-to-be 2 great-grand daughters, how thrilled him would be. Here's to Dad Robert in Heaven looking upon us each day, Happy Father's Day!!!!

My dad, well he is 80 years old and still going strong, he comes from hardy stock, old country people, not hill people, but maybe holler, river and cave people. Dad's family was a bit dysfunctional, a term we use currently for single parent, low income, issue filled homes. When dad was born and small, during the depression, his father left the family to follow his itchy foot, the problem was, is that he left behind a wife, 3 sons and a daughter, no money, no food stamps, no welfare, no help from anyone. Luckily, they had a small little house and a small piece of land from her father and with the generous help of neighbors they scrabbled by a living. Gardens, gathering roots, berries, herbs. Hunting, kind neighbors who shared meat kept the family fed. My grandmother did not have time to be a real nurturing mom, mostly because she was to busy trying to keep the home fires burning and clothes on their backs. So, my dad didn't really get father/son time, his older brothers probably did most of the teaching, he only graduated from 8th grade but got honors from the school of hard knocks. Still he served his time in the Army/Air Force, worked rode motorcycles, traveled and finally settled down to marry my mom and have us kids. Dad has a dry sense of humor, he doesn't like nonsense, he doesn't like yapping women or screaming kids, in fact he really isn't that crazy about kids, he kind of tolerates them in a fashion, oh I'm sure he loves them and cares about his kids, grandkids and great-grand kids but isn't a huggy and kissy kind of dad. He has always worked at very hard jobs, with a hurting back at times, putting in hours and hours, 7 days a week, rain or shine, sick or well. I have learned a lot from him, he showed us how to find wild greens to cook and eat, how to hunt mushrooms, loves his "woods and trees" he really knows how to swing an ax, or a splitting maul and operate a chainsaw. He never, never took help from any one, any man or government, never!! and raised us kids to do the same. He cut the wood and had it sawmilled to build a house for his family, it still stands and is lived in. He is very independent, can be funny at times, has a strong opinion of anything, believes in UFO's, reads, is a very smart man and likes Kentucky Fried Chicken. He would rather have cake than pie and comes to everything I invite him to. He misses my mom and spent a year in darkness from her death, he has found the light again and decided to have some old-age fun, like traveling by rail to the Grand Canyon in May. I love my dad, I don't always agree with him or get along with him, but his has tried to do right by me and at least he stuck around even when he felt his foot started to itch with a travelin' bug. Happy Father's Day, Dad. Love to you all.

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