A Life for the Living

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I drank scotch on the rocks, and somehow, I slipped thru most of my life before he told me that he had drank aftershave out at sea.  He told me that he  couldn’t get to port fast enough. I’ve never been that desperate, but then, on second thought, I’ve never spent months out at sea, either.  Covered with tattoos and scars, his arms really do have an interesting story. It took him 44 years to tell my brothers and me that the scar above his lip was from a bar fight in Okinawa…..another busted bottle, another ‘dead soldier’ is what I nicknamed the empties. One on top of the other, it was apparent I would have to replace the case that I had finished the day before. It was the same thing my father had done as a young man, but, eventually, he broke the cycle and changed a life.  He’ll be 83 at the end of this month, and I can’t wait for the family fish fry. I no longer have to make up some lie about why I can’t make it. He taught me that a man should be as good as his word. He dropped out of school in 8th grade, had an alcoholic mother, and a father who died of cancer when he was 13……I’d be ticked off at those odds, but he took all of that, raised 6 kids, and made a life worth it’s weight. He stayed faithfully married to my mother for 38 years until her death in 1993, and never do I recall him missing a day of foundry work or complaining about her illness. As a young man, he hitchhiked from Long Beach, CA to Alabama in three rides, served in the Korean War, and one day found God. Our family is proud that he received a GED. He distanced himself from the drinking of family and friends when it would have been easier to have obliged. He somehow knew in his mid thirties what has taken me a lifetime to learn. He still lights the family bonfire on Thanksgiving night. All of his grandkids, besides the three still in high school, hold college degrees. The older I get, the more his story means to me. A life well lived. And that’s just the way it is…some things have to change….good day!…b

Bible Verse

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