On December 31, my father will be officially retired.
My father was the son of a dairy farmer. He’s from a generation that learned at an early age to work hard, because that is what was expected of you. You didn’t wait to be praised or petted. You worked hard, because that’s what it took for families to survive.
The eldest of nine children, he grew up in Northern Oklahoma. I don’t remember a lot of stories from him about how hard the work was, but from the little farm work I’ve done, I can well imagine. Milking cows in today’s time is hard work, even in the best of conditions…I can only try to picture what it was like in the 1940’s.
My father worked hard to get an education, graduating with a doctorate in research. I remember as a child living in Starkville, Mississippi, where he taught classes at Mississippi State University. It seemed strange to hear people address him as Dr. True. I didn’t understand how he would have that title and not be a physician. As an adult, I realize the hard work that it took for him to attain that esteemed title…and it makes me proud of him.
My father worked for such companies as Pet, Mead Johnson and Kroger, doing research. I have to admit, I didn’t understand the work that he did when I was young. He was just a dad, going away from the house each day, to do what dads did. It didn’t seem to be anything special or unusual…all the dads that I knew did that. Again, he was from that generation that didn’t draw attention to themselves…it was just what they did.
As an adult, having raised two sons of my own, I understand better the sacrifices my parents made. The hard work it took to raise a family and to maintain a successful career.
The past few years, I have spent countless hours talking to God about my dad. The job he has requires much travel and to hear him call from places like Canada, with fatigue so evident in his voice, made me worry a great deal about him. But he never called to complain; rather to see how I and my family were doing. We all knew that when we answered the phone and heard, “Helllllloooo Evansville….it was Papa!” and it was amazing to hear where he was calling from each time. (But I have to say, the slaughter houses made me cringe more than a little bit!)
One of my fondest memories as a child of my dad was that rare glimpse children get to see of their parents at times. I was about ten years old and the song Dream Weaver was a hit. I loved to write out the lyrics to songs that I liked and was doing so in my room one evening. My father came in and asked what I was doing. I told him I was trying to figure out the lyrics to a song. (This was long before the internet and the answers to such things were a mere touch away) He paused for a moment, thinking and then gave me the missing words. I was astounded…I mean, how could he know about such things as the music I liked? I must have thought that he lived in a world where only “old people” music played…but the older I got, the more I realized how similiar our music tastes were.
I am so happy that my father, with the economy what it is, is able to retire. At age 71, I think he has well deserved it! My father is such a blessing in my life and I pray that he and my stepmom, Diann, will enjoy this new chapter in their lives.
Congratulations Dad…I am so proud of you!
Love, your daughter