Monday, November 24, 2008

My Dad, My Hero


My dad was the most wonderful dad in the world. Really. Charles Talmadge was born in 1929 to Arthur and Verna in south Georgia on a large farm. He had two brothers and one sister.

He told stories of them walking to school barefoot after working early in the morning. Taking their lunch in a bucket which might consist of a biscuit that their momma stuck her finger in the middle of, poured some syrup and pinched shut. They came home from school and worked some more before dinner. These boys were taught a work ethic!


I remember stories of a carnival where the car of a ride let loose and through some people in the river. He told of standing on their porch watching a tornado pass in front of their home. My dad loved to talk about how hard his father worked in the fields and how his mom helped anyone that came along. Those were tough times in the 30's and his mom would hand out biscuits to men passing through.

Their house sat on a hill overlooking a two lane highway. Around the house were muscadine vines, fig trees, the salt house and pig pen. The large garage smelled of oil and fabulous old tools hung everywhere. Up the road within sight was a old country store. I am sure it was a huge treat for them to get to visit that store. I know from Dad's stories that they did not have a lot in the way of possessions, but seemed to have so much as a family. Each of the children respected their parents and I witnessed that as they each cared for their parents in their older years.

As a child I loved to walk to that store with my cousins to get a bottle Coke. It tasted so good. Then grandpa would ride us in his pickup truck across the fields. Each visit to that precious home meant so much to me. It was full of love, wonderful smells and acceptance. I loved to sit on a stool next to the stove and watch my grandma cook.

My dad along with his younger brother went to the Navy. He served during the Korean War and bought my mom's engagement ring in Hong Kong. He was proud to serve and as a child a remember looking at his medals often.

In 1963 I was chosen to be the daughter of Charles and Joanne through adoption. I never remember a time that I didn't know I was adopted nor a time that I didn't feel special. I was chosen and loved. I grew up as an only child, but not a lonely child. I swam everyday each summer with my friends and rode bikes when I wasn't swimming. My parents doted on me and provided me with a home filled with love and encouragement.


Back to Dad. He traveled much of the time during my young years, but I never felt like he was gone. He was ever present in my life through his words of wisdom, his affirmation and his consistency. I was his daughter and nothing was more important in his life. I watched him care tenderly for my mother and never heard him speak a harsh word to her. Never. He took care of us with joy. Goodness, how that affects a child.


I remember sitting with him trying to do math. I would be in tears; he an accountant with a daughter that just didn't get IT! Dad was always patient and I eventually did get IT!! He was patient as I changed majors three times in the first two years of college also...

Dad cared about every part of my life. He even had them do my tetanus vaccine on my back so it would leave a scar on my arm. Yeah, maybe a bit much, but I was his ONLY child. Nothing was overlooked or diminished. He just cared. Dad cared when I fell a skinned my knee and he cared when I had my heart broken the first time by a boy.

Reluctantly, because he had been my caretaker, he gave his only girl away in marriage to a man he trusted to take care of me. He had asked that I finished college before we married and we honored his request. Four years later we blessed him with a granddaughter. I only thought I was special!! Hannah hung the moon and the stars in his eyes. It was amazing to see someone that you gave birth to bring such joy to someone. My dad followed her around like a lost puppy once she started walking. That was his baby.


But, life sometimes doesn't go as planned and less than two years after Hannah's birth my Dad went home to be with the Lord. I was only 29 years old and I certainly expected him to be around a lot longer. He and William were my rocks; with them beside me I felt invincible. One of my rocks was gone and I had a little girl that didn't understand where her Pawpaw had gone. Every time the door opened she called out "Pawpaw" and it broke my heart all over again.

And I had a mother that was more lost than I. She couldn't function without him. I didn't have time to grieve, I had to take care of her and the estate. A year later my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimers. Another story for another time.

To this day I miss my Dad. I accept his absence now, but the hole is huge. My children do not have a doting grandfather. I do not have a trusted adviser. My husband does not have a father in law. But, I do know and believe that God is in control. I do believe that He used this very difficult time to grow me and deepen my trust in Him.

I love you Dad. Thank you for being the perfect Dad for Hero


Jennifer P. said...

What a wonderful legacy and a wonderful story! He looks like the kind man in a Norman Rockwell painting!

Thank you for sharing his story. And now you have it recorded for your posterity too!

Lisa said...

Thanks for the comment Jennifer. He was a wonderful man. I miss him so.