February 28th

Hello everyone 🙂

Here we are at the end of February all ready. February is a very emotional month for me. You go through Valentines Day, President’s Day and my father’s birthday.

My father was born on February 29th. We always celebrated it on the last day of February but we teased him about his age saying he could only have his birthday every four years.

My father passed away suddenly on November 16, 1985 at the age of 69. I miss him so very much.  He would be 97 if still alive. Although he’s gone I like to remember him the best that I can on this day.

I am dedicating today to the Best Dad Ever: Fred Wilson Richards

My father always believed in doing what was right. Don’t fight the establishment but stand up for what you believe in. He knew everyone in town and they respected him. I as a young girl was always amazed at how many people wanted to shake hands with him as we went to town.

Later on my sons would have the same experience. Dad liked to go to the old-fashioned barber shop and that was a day he would take me with him. The barber’s would tease me about cutting off my ringlets but I wasn’t worried because dad never would have let that happen.

My father was a printer and I remember checking in with him at work on my way home from town as I got older. It was a short cut through the business and I liked to say hi but the big presses weren’t safe and make loud noises so we hurried on through.  However, it gave my parents a satisfaction of safety knowing where I was and that I’d stop.

He was usually elected as the President of the Typographical Union even though he never wanted it. However, the men he worked with on both sides saw him to be fair and logical and they would listen when he spoke. My father was a man of few words but as kids we knew to listen when he spoke and I think that is how everyone saw him.

Dad use to treat us once a month to Pork Chop John’s Sandwiches and a Milkshake. That was a great delight.

My father believed in the idea that if you can do it yourself don’t pay someone else to do it. He was very handy with his hands and not only learned to work on his own car but to remodel the house. What he didn’t know he’d read about.

However, every so often he’d take the car to the gas station for a good oil change and tune up. That would be the day I’d ride along with him for company and when we were done we would hit the root beer stand across the street. You know the A & W good old-fashioned root beer when kids got the little mug free. Then we’d head back home for whatever the day had in store for us.

Dad always made sure that the upkeep on the house was taken care off and he would help neighbors if they needed some help.

We would mow the yard, and we would try to help with raking the grass or leaves depending on what time of year. However it always ended up with us doing somersaults  and putting grass or leaves down each other’s backs. Dad didn’t mind so much as long as we cleaned up our mess afterwards.

My father worked hard and he loved nature. He believed you couldn’t be any closer to God than being out in God’s country enjoy the beauty of the day. Once spring broke we knew he would clean up his fishing gear and get ready for opening season of fishing.

Once fishing started every weekend was on the rivers and occasional on the lakes but he preferred river fishing.

My dad was good at fly fishing however, as much as I tried it I never got good at it as a kid. I’d always get stuck on the bottom of the river for leaving it too long or I’d get hung up in the willow trees. Dad finally gave up on me fly fishing for fear that I’d just step out into the river and try to unhook the snag myself. We usually fished the Madison River and it is very fast with many deep wholes. I wasn’t that big and the currents could have taken me away with no problem.

I however, was content to sit on the side and bait fish. I usually would find a big rock where I could dangle my feet into the water and wait for dad’s return as he would walk down river through the different forks that it had.

Mom was always close by and could help but she didn’t like the water as she never learned to swim.

My father believed in taking care of nature and leaving it undisturbed. You ate what you caught and you didn’t take more than the legal limit.

You kept your camping area clean and leaved it for the next person to enjoy.

Although he’d let me catch polliwogs and tadpoles I always had to return them to their natural habitat before leaving.

We were never allowed to hang from trees breaking their branches or causing any other kind of natural problem.

The wild flowers were beautiful and occasionally we’d pick a bouquet for mom for being a good sport. However, most of the time we chose to leave them in their beautiful natural surrounding.

It was always sad when summer came to an end as you knew dad missed being outdoors.

During the school year he’d help us with school projects or just enjoy listening to us chatter around the dinner table as we told of the days activities.

He believed in God but didn’t like going to church however, he would attend on holidays and if us kids were doing a special performance. Other than that he pretty much was a home body.

However, he would take us sleigh riding and make sure we got outside during the winter months.

My favorite times that I remember with my dad is sitting on his lap being read a story, him listening to me as I played the piano and him singing along, going fishing , and working on the car together.

My father wanted a son and he got me instead. I did the best to make him feel like he had a companion no matter what we were doing.

He was a man I could go to no matter what my problems were and he’d listen. He always had the right answers because he used good old common sense.

I miss our talks. I miss him reading me a bedtime story. I miss his laugh that you didn’t hear very often.

I miss knowing that I can go to him.

I still talk to him and I know he hears me. I see signs around me all the time.

Like the time I was too busy with things in my life and I was also trying to help a friend in need and I had taken her a box of food and ran her to the store. Upon returning to her apartment when I got out of my mini van the license plate began to dance. I stopped and looked and said “Did you see that?” “What the heck.” She had seen it too. There wasn’t a breeze in the air. I walked over to the car afraid it was about to come off but it was tightly screwed on. Then as I looked at the plate I saw what I was supposed to see. My tags were expired for a month.

Oh no! Now I needed to get my car home and off the street. I know that was my dad reminding me of my tags.  I haven’t forgotten to renew my tags since. That was such a close call. I didn’t have money for a fine.

Yes there are other times too and sometimes at night when the sky is lit with stars I’ll just look towards the heaven and send my conversation to him.

I know that he hears me and he knows my love for him.

So today I will say Dad I LOVE YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!! Sing with the angels and know my heart is with you.

 

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