By Clover Jernesy
It seems that every time there is a holiday, a birthday or an anniversary it is my mother whom always gets an honorable heart-felt mention of love and remembrance. I don’t know why that is, maybe because we are both female and shared things only a girl and a mom can. That being said my dad loved and cared for me just as much but, differently than my mother and maybe more. I was the only girl his one and only daughter to spoil and dote on. My dad supported me in everything I wanted to do.
I remember my brothers and I, we always carried sack lunches to school; I believe my parents felt it was more cost effective, raising six school-aged kids. I always wanted to eat a hot lunch provided by the school and since the Thanksgiving holiday was coming up; I wanted to eat a hot lunch with the rest of my classmates. I asked my mom but, she said no. So I asked my dad when mom was not around and of course he said yes, but, it had to be a secret. I could not tell my brothers because they would want a hot lunch too. Another time my dad supported me that I can remember, I wanted to sing. My dad taught me how to project my voice. He would put the 45 on the record player, the song was “Misty” sang by Miss Diana Washington. He would then stand in the kitchen and I would stand in the front room. I would begin softly, “Look at me.” he would say “sing! Loud” and I would. “I am helpless as a kitten, up a tree.” I knew I had done well because my dad’s smile said it all.
Dad would come to my talent shows although, he was tired from working all day and mom, well she stayed home watching “Perry Mason” or some other detective program on television. My dad, he loved and accepted who I loved, which may not have been such a good thing, but he did and always, with a genuine smile of sincerity because he wanted me to be happy. My dad gave me my first drill when I purchased my home, he even taught me how to shoot my first gun. So this accolade of honorable and heart-felt mention of love and memory is for you dad because, “I Love you.”
He stood in the door way expressing his appreciation with a congenial smile that welcomed family, friends and neighborhood acquaintances into our home for a barbecue. Thinking back my dad really should have opened a restaurant, he could as they say “burn some ribs, or put his foot in them and I’m here to tell you, those ribs were so good that it made you want to slap… your momma,” literally speaking. My point being my dad could throw down on some ribs. What I am saying is common everyday language is my dad could cook.
He would prepare the ribs the night before marinating them with liquid smoke, garlic and other seasonings (he would get up from his grave if I gave all the ingredients). The next morning early, he would start his grill and momma would start preparing the potato salad. I still cannot get mom’s potato salad just right. Oh well, I will one day. Later that morning the smoke from the grill had reached epic proportions throughout the neighborhood and everyone knew my daddy was chef’n up some good eaten.
By mid – afternoon, the ribs, chicken and pork-chops were finished grilling and mom had all the sides completed and plated on her favorite party ware. There was her famous potato salad, pork & beans, corn on the cob, and the to- die- for- relish tray, which included: scallions, celery stuffed with French onion dip, black and green olives. There were also these little itsi bitsi pickled corn on the cobs, red radishes garbanzo beans and stuffed eggs. It was laid out like a five-star banquet buffet, and now it was time to get our grub on.
Our house was full; there were new grand-babies, cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, sister-in-laws, friends and the neighborhood drop-ins that were not going to miss out on a chance to get some of my dad’s lip-smacking ribs. My dad was always a consistent and joyful host; he never entered the room without asking “Is Everybody Happy!” Everyone would respond yea, with their mouths full of food and shaking their heads up and down. This delighted my dad seeing people sharing, laughing, talking, and really enjoying themselves. He would always ask me, “How you doing sugar,” while pinching my cheek. I, with my mouth full would smile, shaking my head up and down to convey that I was fine.
Once again the house is full; with some of our relatives, friends and acquaintances, and again we are gathered in the living room, sharing talking, yet not laughing. We are not seeing the smiling, congenial face that is welcoming, or hearing the words saying “Is Everybody Happy.” You see, we are not happy and a matter of fact we are all quite sad. We lost the glue that had held our family together over Sixty-five years, with love, laughter and guidance; we’ve lost the person that took us on fishing and hunting trips, to the mountains, discovering things about our world we would have never known if it had not been for his adventurous personality our dad to Leukemia. I have never heard of “Doctor Induced Leukemia. Apparently it happens when the doctor forgets to tell the patient, or the patient forgets that the doctor told them to take an antibiotic before surgery when the patient has a metal implant.
This was a learning experience for me, in remembering what happened to my dad. Therefore, I was knowledgeable of the dangers of not taking the antibiotics and was sure to tell my husband to take his medication before his dental surgery because; he had knee replacement surgery eight months before. Could it have been my dad’s spirit telling me. “Sugar, make sure your husband takes the antibiotic?” I would guess that yes, maybe it was my dad for he had always wanted me to be happy. R.I.P dad, I Love you.