Just before Christmas about 15 years ago Mark and I visited my parents at their house on Horton Road. My mom had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s around that time and we were talking about what Santa Claus should bring them and my dad said silverware. He said they had to pull out “the good stuff” because all of their everyday silverware was almost gone. He didn’t know where it was going but he didn’t seem to care very much either.
About a year later my dad found all of their missing silverware in a bag hidden in a high laundry room cupboard that they seldom used. He was so proud to find it and my mom didn’t remember hiding it. My dad didn’t make a big deal about it, he just understood.
My dad was probably 80 years old when we were sitting in a McDonald’s and he told me with tears in his eyes that he doesn’t remember his mother ever telling him that she loved him. My dad knew that she did but she had to be strong and tough to raise her six sons and one daughter on her own after her husband died from an infection at a young age.
My parents loved each other but were never very affectionate in public. My dad’s true love and affection for my mom was very real and evident to me after my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I was in awe of how much he loved and cared for her. He stepped up and started taking over daily routines that my mom used to do and he never complained and they laughed a lot together.
One of the daily routines that my dad took over for my mom was helping her get cleaned up and dressed in the morning. My dad was not into fashion so oftentimes we would have to send him back to his bedroom to put on a shirt that matched his pants. He would laugh and head back to his room to change his clothes. With that being said, he had to take charge of my mom’s clothing choices as well. Lucky for my mom she had quite a few matching outfits on hangars so it made it easier for my dad to pick out matching clothes.
At one point during the time that my dad cared for my mom she needed new slippers, so we bought some that looked like corduroy moccasins. She loved them because they were so warm and comfy. On Sunday mornings we usually met and sat with my parents at church. One Sunday I thought to myself, ‘I hope Mom doesn’t wear her slippers to church.’ When we got to church that morning, sure enough, my mom was wearing her slippers. I didn’t say a word to my dad because he was doing the best he could.
I am living a similar love story as my parents. Mark is definitely more skilled with helping me get ready for the day than my dad was with my mom, but I think the love is the same.
And luckily I still get to pick out my own clothes. And Mark’s, too.
Lucky for me, my life started out great because I grew up in a loving home. I am so appreciative that my parents provided me with stability and balance.
My Dad was kind, gentle, honest and generous. He loved to laugh and he wasn’t afraid to laugh at himself. Today, I can still hear his precious laugh. Because of my dad’ great sense of humor, I would like to share some of his moments that we called “Floyd Moments.”
- One sleepy morning, my dad woke up and accidentally put on mom’s glasses without noticing. He went about his business only to discover his own glasses on mom’s face.
- Dad was having surgery and was instructed by the doctors to take a laxative the day before his surgery. He had the date mixed up and took the laxative two days before his surgery. He laughed when he found out and had to repeat the medicine the following day.
- Dad went to the car auction for the first time to purchase a car. He came home with a two-door green Plymouth. What was he thinking with nine children? He said to my mother, “I just raised my hand.” Mom shook her head, turned around and walked into the house without saying a word.
- When we were young, my dad used to make us go down to the Causeway and pick dandelions so that he could make dandelion wine. We tried to pick fast so that we could get out of there. We wanted to put our picking bags over our heads so that our friends would not see us.
- Dad was a practical man. Before he would throw shoes away, he would repair the soles several times. Once he even spray painted the kids’ green Impala. He painted the car gray and it was forever known as the “Gray Ghost.”
“You taught us how to laugh, what a time, what a time. You never said too much but still you showed the way. And I learned from watching you.”
My dad died March 2, 2002.
Happy Father’s Day, dad! See you in the funny paper.