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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dad.........On The Wings Of Angels, I Send You My Love

James William Barnett (Short)
Dec. 28, 1918 to Feb. 3, 1978
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it ...

My Dad would be confounded by this world if he were still on this earth. Wall Street greed, unethical bank practices,  morally bankrupt individuals (Bernie Madoff), the Internet (he would say "What is that?"), global warming (he would say "What is that?"), huge credit card debt (he would say "how could anyone owe that much") and a generation believing that they are entitled to everything without laboring for it.

My Dad believed a man's word  was his bond and his pledge (a handshake was a sufficient contract) .  He would not understand the need for pages and pages of signed, notarized papers to make a person do the right thing.  He was a man of his word who firmly believed you worked for what you got (old-fashioned, yes.  a lost art, if you ask me).  His creed could have been "Without labor, nothing prospers"'  Sophocles said it first but Dad lived it. 
Dad loved the new coat he got for Christmas.
Dad was funny, honest, hard working (physical labor), compassionate and the most loving parent and grandparent anyone could ask for (unconditional love no matter how bad you messed up).  He was known by many names.  "Short (nickname everyone used because he wasn't very tall), Husband, Dad, Pa, Business Owner and Homeowner".  His focus in life was his family and making a better life for them by hard work (he would rather eat water gravy than take charity).  I lovingly recall his weather-beaten face (hours of working outside in the elements) and  unquenchabel spirit (he inspires me still). He was living the American Dream.

Dad, Mom and Pug Ugly (dog).
Dad was deeply suntanned from his many hours of labor in the hot sun.
In a few months I will be 58 years old.  The same age Dad was when Cancer stole him from us and denied us the privilege of growing old with him.  Time has eased the pain but the wound of loss is forever in my soul.  Tears come at unexpected moments, the raw emotion is triggered  by any number of small reminders.

Even though I miss his physical presence (more than I can tell you), he is still with me in many other ways.  The things he taught us are with me everyday.  Dad taught me how to drive a stick shift truck in the hayfield (if you can drive a stick shift, you can drive anything); Jimmy, my oldest nephew, wasn't much taller than the tail gate on the truck but he would drag the square bales to the truck and Dad would help load and then stack them. Ricky and Richard (my other two nephews) were very young but Dad gave them some lessons too.
Dad and grandson, Richard,  at Christmas time.
Becky was a few months shy of her fifth birthday when Dad left (told her the angels took him to Heaven).  Those handful of years were so very special to both Dad and Beck.  She tottled around after him everywhere he went.   She used to sit on the side of his sickbed and sing songs to him. I can still hear her childish voice singing  "I shall not be, I shall not be moved, just like a tree planted by the water, I shall not be moved". 
Becky and Dad in the garden.
Joyce, my sister, adored him.  She has said to me many times "he was someone I could lean-on in times of trouble "(I agree.  Lord knows I had troubles when I was younger).  Dad was our rock.

David is Dad's only son.  There was a very special bond there that only father's and son's can have.  Since Dad left us, David has been the  person I could lean-on no matter how bad I messed up.  Dad left a lasting legacy in his children and grandchildren.  We can only strive to be the kind of person he was.  He set the bar very high for us.

Dad and Brother Dave.(eternally bonded)
Father's Day is a day set aside by retail business to make a lot of sales.  However, the real reason for the day is to tell your Dad how very special he is and to cherish the time you have with him.  Never miss an opportunity to say "I love you Dad".

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