Today is Father's Day, a day where we celebrate the father in our lives. For me it is a day that I have memories throughout the day of not only my daddy, but the other father's in my life. I was blessed enough to have three official fathers and then a few others who have been father figures to me.
First off there was Cecil Ira Horner, the man who was my biological father. I know very little about him other than he passed away when I was still an infant and he was in his early sixties when I was born. While I don't know anything about this man who is my father, I do owe him my life because without him I would not exist.
Next in my life I had Clyde Kinkade, who I got to call daddy from the time I was 18 months old until I was 5 1/2 years old. The Kinkade's were my foster parents after I was removed from my biological mother and are the ones I remember as being my parents during early childhood. One of my memories of Clyde was that if I got in trouble I could run to him and jump in his lap and he would save me from the punishment my foster mother Carol was about to give. I remember the feeling of safety and love of sitting in that over-sized chair in Clyde's lap with his arms wrapped around me as he shielded me from the horrors of a mild tongue lashing.
Another fond memory was the times I would go with Carol to see Clyde at work. He worked for the Rock Island Railroad and while I don't necessarily remember the reasons we would go I do remember the excitement of being at the railroad and sometimes seeing him in the engineer car or standing on the back of the caboose *okie suddenly realizes she hasn't seen a caboose on a train in years*. Oddly, I have no idea what he did at the railroad but in my mind I thought he drove all the trains and ran the railroad.
About 3 years after I was adopted my parents allowed me to go back and visit the Kinkade's one day and I still remember getting out of the car and running into Clyde's arms. I'm not sure how hard that was for my adoptive parents to see but it says a lot about them to be able to allow me to see the family that cared for me for years. After that initial visit I got to go spend time with my foster family during school breaks. Sadly Clyde got cancer about a year and a half after the visits started. During his illness my foster parents made the decision of not having me visit as they didn't want me to remember him in that condition but wanted all my memories of him being happy and healthy. My adoptive mother took me to the funeral and we stayed afterward visiting with the family. I did return to visiting with the family on the next school break and I can remember my foster mother always trying to make sure I was not feeling sad. On my future visits Carol would tell me stories about Clyde and it always made me feel like a little part of him would always be with me. As I have gotten older the memories have faded but the love I have for this first Daddy that I remember will never fade.
Daddy Don - The Daddy of all Daddy's!
As I have mentioned before, and then again just a few paragraphs ago I was adopted when I was 5 1/2 and my new Daddy was Don Thompson. My first memory of Daddy was of him and Momma sitting in chairs and smiling at me and my brother. I remember the judge asking us if we wanted them to be our new parents and I guess they looked friendly enough because we said yes. I won't go into further details about all this because this particular post is about Father's Day so I will keep it at that, at least for now. On the way home I do remember calling them by their first name and them correcting me and telling me that they were Daddy and Momma from now on, and so it was.
Daddy was about 5'11" with short legs and a long torso and had arms quite like Popeye and fists that would give Thor's hammer a run for it's money. He was a butcher and back then beef was still handled in grocery stores as hanging beef and Daddy could toss those things around like they were sacks of flour, at least to my young mind and wondering eyes that is what it looked like. Either way I think it lent to him maintaining strength and muscle. Once again I had a Daddy where I would crawl in his lap and feel safety and love when those arms wrapped around me. Something that continued until he passed away when I was 18 years old.
I will say Daddy wasn't perfect, but of course who is *okie thinks other than herself of course*, but I never remember doubting the love he had for me, even up to the day he died. I could go into a bunch of memories but I won't since I don't feel like writing a book today so I will just share one very special memory...the last one I have of my Daddy.
The night before Daddy fell over dead, yep just fell over dead due to blocked arteries, I was going to a basketball game with a friend. I had gotten ready and was headed to the door. I stopped at the living room entrance and and said "do I look good Daddy?" and he said "Baby you always look beautiful". I laughed and told him he was biased and before I turned to leave I said "I love you Daddy" and he responded with "I love you too baby". Of course I didn't know I would never see him alive again and saying "I love you" was an almost daily phrase in our home. I realize how blessed I am with having parents who instilled in me, even if subliminally so, the importance of saying "I love you". That is the last memory I have of my Daddy and I really don't think it can get better than that.
While I have no father or daddy that is alive on Father's Day I am able to say I have had 3 men in my life who filled that role in one way or another for me and that makes me one of the most blessed people in the world. So whether your father or daddy is by blood or law, whether he was the perfect father or the not so perfect father, just feel thankful to that man who gave you life or raised and cared for you because without him you would just not BE.