The picture on the left is of Dad, brother Mike and me. It must have been taken around 1962, not sure. My sister found it, scanned it, and I snagged it for my own personal use.
We're sitting in Grandma Parks' living room. I remember that old rocker! But barely remember Mike looking like that - so small and round and cute. The door behind us was Grandma's bedroom, and much later, was Dad's room. He would go in there, close the door to take a nap after working 12 or 16 hours, and we kids knew better than to make noise, lest he emerge, trip over one of us camped out in the floor and roar - "A bunch of cur dogs!" Well, that was Dad. Roar now (especially when he was in pain from hitting the floor after tripping over one of us), make a gesture of apology later. He never said the words...I'm sorry...but he would place one of his big hands on a shoulder and pat it. That's as close as he came, but it was ok, because we knew what he meant.
He has been on my mind a lot, lately, especially after this past weekend when someone broke into the house in which my baby sister now lives. They stole a few things, but the worst is, they managed to smash my father's picture. The one in his Air Force uniform. The one that sat for years in the cabinet you see in the photograph my sister scanned. They used his knives to stab his dog tags. It was a personal attack, yes, but not against my father; it was against my nephew, who adored him.
Some days, I think there's hope for the world, for the kids coming up, and other days I'm just tired from the violence and the insanity that surrounds all of us, every day, whether it touches us directly or not.
See that picture my sister scanned? It's from a time when the world was a little more tame, when morals were to the foreground for most, whether the background reflected them or not. It's from a time when I could sit in my father's lap and feel safe and peaceful.