Happy Father's Day Daddy
A Tribute to Daddy on Father’s Day, 2017!
I want to pay tribute to my Father… for the first time in my life. Daddy died two months after I turned nine. He was working at one of the Phillips Petroleum Co. Plants in Borger, TX when he passed out and was taken to the Company health clinic. He was there for a few weeks before the Doctors finally admitted that they didn’t know what was wrong… so they transferred him to the Wadley Blood Research Center in Dallas.
He died twenty-nine months later. Shortly before he died, he was diagnosed with a “new” disease called “Leukemia”. The Doctors tried everything to reverse his condition, even to completely replacing his diseased blood with new blood four different times. He would get better for a few days, then his blood count would start going down again.
In 1953, the Doctors knew very little about Leukemia… what caused it, or even if it was contagious. In order to get to see him, my brother and I suited up in hospital gowns and masks, and for fifteen minutes once a month, we could see and talk to him, but not touch him.
With just a few exceptions, any memories I have of Daddy were before he got sick. I was six at the time, and I can count them on one hand.
After he died, I don’t remember Mother or anyone else ever talking about him. Maybe they did, but just not in front of me. Even when I was grown and would ask Mother questions, I never got more than “he was a good man” or “he loved you kids”.
I guess those answers are ok when you’re a child…. but at some point you want more than that. Childhood memories began to fade, and you wonder if they were real or you just made them up.
With Father’s Day coming up, I decided to try and find out everything I could about him. But, I almost waited too late. I only have one cousin, Gwen, who’s still alive that was old enough to really have known him. She’s in her 80’s, but her memory is still good.
I spent several hours on the phone with her and I think that she enjoyed talking about Daddy as much as I did learning about him.
She said he loved life, always laughing and pulling practical jokes… his sister-in-laws were his favorite targets, and he played games with the kids and loved being their “horse”.
He teased Granny unmercifully, but Gwen also said, that he treated her like a Queen. She said that Mother and Daddy picked on each other constantly, but always in a joking fashion.
When Daddy was alive, vacations were always spent in Arkansas helping Granny and Granddad do whatever needed to be done on the farm. One trip, he made Granny a big round oak table, and I can remember sitting on a pan to make me high enough to reach the table.
The adults got to sit in chairs, but there was a corner bench for the kids. We had to crawl out from under the table between all the grownups legs in order to go outside and play, but only after we had shown Granddad that we had eaten everything on our plate.
Gwen told me that the whole time he was in the hospital, Daddy told the Doctors over and over, that if there was any new drug or procedure they wanted to try, they were welcome to try it on him. He also asked that an autopsy be done after he died.
She told me story after story, but Gwen saved the best to last, because she told me how much he loved the Lord and singing his praises!
I suppose, as you get older, you stop calling your Daddy, “Daddy”… it may become “Dad”, “Father”, “Pops”… or whatever, but for me, he will always be “Daddy”.
So, to my Daddy, Garland Baxter Sosebee, and to every Father out there… I say “Happy Father’s Day”.