Thursday, September 3, 2020

Memories Of My Father


Richard Ward Danner
July 19, 1936-August 30, 2020

My father was the reason I was not given the name Parthena at birth, and for that I will be eternally grateful, particularly since my mother wanted to call me "Par" for short.  Can you just IMAGINE the teasing in junior high and high school? 

I grew up as a typical "Daddy's little princess," knowing I was loved unconditionally and often spoiled shamelessly. He is the reason I love NASCAR, football, and baseball--all of those started as ways to spend time with him. 

My father encouraged my love of reading by taking me to the library on Saturdays to get a stack of books, allowing me to get the books I wanted, not just those considered at my age level. He also was the one who introduced me to crossword puzzles, which is something else I still enjoy. 

I even helped my father do jobs around the house just to spend that much-coveted time with him. When our basement flooded more than once, I helped him dig a ditch to lay pipe that would carry the water in a direction away from the house. When he decided to build a deck off the back of the house, I was right there helping out. 

I also made my only foray into the world of athletics because of him, playing for the church softball team he coached. I spent most of my time in right field, but he eventually taught me to pitch, which resulted in my first, and only, sports injury. I was pitching during practice one day, and he was hitting balls to all the fielders. With no warning, he hit one straight back at me, hitting me in the face. My glasses broke, and my nose bled---and I was done for the day!

When I was old enough to start playing an instrument in school, it was a foregone conclusion that I would play the trumpet, the instrument that he had played in younger days. To be honest, I wound up wishing I had chosen something else, but I stuck with it, year after year, because it made HIM happy. Both of my parents were at every concert, football game, and band competition. They were some of the favorite band bus chaperones, and I was often told how lucky I was to have parents like them.

When I was sixteen, I realized that he was spending more and more time away from home in the evenings. Naive and sheltered as I was, it took me a while to figure out why, but when I did, that was the first time he broke my heart. The second time was a few months later when he moved out of our home. The third time was that summer, when he took his girlfriend and her daughters to California with him rather than taking me and my brother. The fourth time was the following year, after the divorce, when we all learned of his first remarriage by reading about it in the Sunday paper. 

Needless to say, there was a period of time after that when  I had very negative feelings toward him and refused to have anything to do with him. Gradually, however, I was able to forgive him and attempt a slightly different relationship. After all, he was still my father, but he was no longer my hero.

Through my college years, I stayed in touch with him through letters and telephone calls, as well as the occasional dinner. I still wanted to make him proud, but it seemed as though he was only willing to be part of my life when it was convenient for him.

The next heartbreak came with my first wedding, in 1985, when neither of my parents showed up because they were each sure the other would be there. I missed having him there to walk me down the aisle, and although my brother filled the job admirably, it just wasn't the same. 

When I had children, I started seeing signs of the man he had been in MY childhood. He spent time with them, laughed and joked with them, and spoiled them just as he had me. After he married Jean, who became known as "Grandma Jean, the teddy bear lady," she seemed just as eager to love and spoil them. 

When my youngest was not quite four years old, we moved about 150 miles away, to the other side of Ohio. From that time on, I never got answers to letters, phone calls were picked up by the answering machine and never returned, and the only communication we had was a yearly Christmas card with a check. In time, even those stopped coming, with no explanation.

Even after he stopped communicating in that limited way, I continued to write to let him know what was going on with us.  I let him know about weddings, grandchildren, my cancer, and any other important events, but still no response.

When Jean died four years ago, I had to make a choice...attend her funeral to support him, or walk my youngest daughter down the aisle for her wedding. As her only surviving parent, I didn't feel there WAS a choice, so I sent a sympathy card and explained why I wouldn't be there. Once again, I was ignored--and that was the last time I tried to get any sort of response from him.

About a year ago, when my mother was visiting a friend in a nursing home, she discovered my father in the hallway in a wheelchair. She said that although she spoke to him, he didn't appear to recognize her or comprehend what she told him. At that point, I knew it was only a matter of time, and I think I unconsciously began to mourn for him.

When I got the news Sunday morning that he was gone, I didn't feel a loss, I just felt numb. As the week has continued, that has not changed. I have not shed a tear, and I don't miss him any more or less than I have for years. I just hope that somewhere in his heart, he has always known that I loved him and that I forgave him for the pain he caused. 

(I don't know how I'll feel when I go to his funeral on Saturday, but I hope I can pull it off with dignity and grace, whatever happens.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Listers Gotta List February TREASURED Challenge, Day 12: Favorite Love Songs

  1. Because You Love Me, Jo Dee Messina
  2. You're Beautiful, James Blunt
  3. I Will Always Love You, Dolly Parton
  4. Truly Madly Deeply, Savage Garden
  5. How Deep Is Your Love, BeeGees
  6. Endless Love, Diana Ross & Lionel Ritchie

Monday, February 11, 2019

100 Days Of Self-Exploration: Day Eleven--What Would You Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail And There Were No Limitation Of Resources?

If I couldn't fail, and resources were no obstacle, there are several things I'd like to consider

1) A Books and Cats cafe: Picture a bookstore with a coffee and pastry bar, and a separate room where, if they choose, patrons can read AND interact with cats/kittens available for adoption.  Sounds like heaven on earth for me!

2) Set up a community center of sorts, where kids could gather and hang out, play video games or board games, play sports (just friendly pickup games, not organized leagues or anything), start their own interest groups. We could do weekly movie nights, monthly book clubs, a Lego club, etc.

3) Set up a shelter for women and children who are trying to escape domestic violence situations. This is something that is VERY close to my heart, and I'd love to be able to set something like this up here in our town.

Boho Berry Snail Mail Rewind, Day 11: My Typical Day

Wake up (anywhere between 5 am and 9 am).
Take care of the cat
God time--Bible reading, devotional, prayer
Cappuccino (and sometimes breakfast)
Watch news/morning show
Read/watch TV
Social activities
Bed around midnight

Listers Gotta List February TREASURED Challenge, Day 11: Things I Treasure

  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. Pets
  4. Faith
  5. Books
  6. Memories
  7. Feeling content
  8. Loving and being loved

Sunday, February 10, 2019

100 Days Of Self-Exploration: Day Ten--If You Could Do Something For Free For The Rest Of Your Life, What Would It Be?

Travel to all the places I'll probably never see otherwise: France, Italy, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Japan, Thailand, Africa, Aruba, Bermuda....those would make a good start, at least.

Another thing I'd like to do is help children. Not sure exactly what I would do, but I'd start some type of program to work with abused kids.

Boho Berry Snail Mail Rewind, Day 10: Things I Collect.

  1. Books
  2. Journals
  3. Teddy bears
  4. M&M memorabilia

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