Father’s Day is storytime!

Published 7:28 pm Friday, June 14, 2024

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My daddy’s grandchildren stood under the magnolia tree that dark, cold night and watched as the ambulance took him away.

I didn’t know that until recently when the grandchildren, now grown, talked about it. They thought the ambulance would soon bring their granddaddy back home.   

But, Daddy died in the early hours of his birthday, Father’s Day 1983.

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Actually, Daddy didn’t die. Dr. John Crosby just said his heart stopped beating.

There is a difference.

As long as Daddy didn’t die, we could keep him alive. We have done that with stories about him and his own stories.

Now, Daddy didn’t cuss but he did use “hell” as an introductory word. I won’t say much about that except on the night of the worst storm in the history of Brundidge Alabama.

Mama was terrified of “bad” weather. If one drop of rain hit the roof, she would go into one of her walking, wringing hands, squalling fits. And the weather did get really bad that night. The wind roared, trees bent to ground, windows rattled and I sat in the middle of the bed where mama always “put me” when there was bad weather. Through the static on the radio, we were instructed to “Go to the southwest corner of the house, immediately! “At every warning, Mama would go into the bedroom and plead with Daddy to come get in the southwest corner with us. We never did blow away as Mama “just knew” we would.

The next day at dinner Mama said, “Lord, William, I thought we were going to get blown away last night. That was worst storm I’ve ever been in.”

Mama told Daddy that she begged and begged him to get to safety in the southwest corner of house but wouldn’t.

“Hell, I was in the southwest corner of the house!” Daddy said.

There are many Daddy stories like that but…

One of favorite Daddy’s “can tell” stories is about he was in the Army Air Corps Ferry Command during WWII.

He was flying a plane for the Russians to pick up in North Alaska. His plane went down in a snow storm in a very remote area. But an Eskimo saw the plane go down and came to rescue Daddy. When they got to the igloo, the man gestured that Daddy could keep warm by sleeping with his wife or his dog – an Eskimo tradition.

Daddy said he slept really warm that night, in an igloo…with a shaggy dog.

Dr. Crosby was right. Daddy didn’t die.

Stories keep him alive and in our hearts.