Echoes From the Campfire

No matter how bad times got or how busy we were, Pa was always shaved, his hair was always trimmed.  And I do not recall ever seeing Pa lean on anything—he always stood on his own two feet.”
              –Louis L’Amour  (Killoe)

    “Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding.”
              –Proverbs 4:1 (NKJV)
I had a good relationship with my Dad, despite his faults.  He had trouble with the booze, and I wish I could have done more for him.  He died in his mid-50s from a drowning accident.  Dad knew how to work and he knew baseball.  I have know only few who knew much about baseball as he did.  He was a generous man; would give you the shirt off his back.  There are times when I miss him, and would like to talk to him.
    I came across this hidden passage in my notebook.  It is simply titled, “Dad,” and it has no author.

         “He is the creator.  He is the builder, the teacher, the comedian, the repairman, the disciplinarian, and the chairman of the sounding board.  He is the grouch, the warm, the cold, the soft, the hard, the gentle, the rough, the kind, the cruel, the man, the father…in his children’s lives.
         He has calloused hands and balding head.  He has wrinkles that show when he smiles.  He receives no anesthetic and when everyone cries, he dies inside because he is not supposed to show tears.  He has a smell that only his children love.  He goes someplace everyday called work.  He comes home with a sack of doughnuts and feels he is carrying a bag of gold.
         He is grouchy when he is tired and happy when he is rested.  He smiles when he is scared.  He frowns when he is joking.  He hurts when his kids ache.  He is never quite the man his son thinks he is and he is never quite the hero his daughter knows he is.
         He listens to fears, doubts, joys and sorrows.  He repairs broken dolls and flat bicycle tires.  He mends crushed hopes and broken hearts.  He rules in joy and empathizes in sorrow.
         He creates dreams, plans and goals.  He builds direction that evolves into purpose.  He teaches senses of responsibility and he teaches honesty.  This structure is his Michelangelo, his masterpiece.  This masterpiece is what he lives for.  He believes in it.  He lives in this belief.  He would die in this belief.  This believe is the future for his gang.  His gang is his life.  His life is his gang.”

    One of the greatest pleasures I have had in life is that of being a “Dad”.  I wrote, on a band-aid box for Shauna, and a roll of athletic tape for Kim, that I had one wish–that I could be their Dad all over again.
    I saw that a woman athlete representing the United States abroad said that she would not stand during the National Anthem.  She said that she did not agree with many things in our country.  My reply to her was that she should not be representing the country on a team that has given her the privilege of being on.
    One more thought, since today is Flag Day.  I came across this is my files as well.  It is my editing of an article written by Robert C. Winthrop, “The Flag of Our Country.”

         “There is the national flag.  He must be cold indeed who can look upon its folds, rippling in the breeze, without pride of country.  If he be in a foreign land, the flag is companionship and country itself, with all its endearments…  Its highest beauty is in what it symbolizes.  It is because it represents all, that all gaze at it with delight and reverence…  The very colors have a language which was officially recognized by our fathers.  White is for purity, red for valor, blue for justice; and all together–bunting, stripes, stars, and colors, blazing in the sky–make the flag of our country to be cherished by all our hearts, to be upheld by all our hands…
          Behold it!  Listen to it!  Every star has a tongue; every stripe is articulate.  There is no speech nor language where their voices are not heard.  There is magic in the web of it.  It has an answer for every question of duty.  It has a word of good cheer for every hour of gloom or of despondency.
          Behold it!  Listen to it!  It speaks of earlier and of later struggles.  It speaks of victories and sometimes of reverses, on the sea and on the land.  It speaks of patriots and heroes among the living and among the dead…”

Yes, seeing the flag wave in the breeze still stirs me.  I had the privilege of serving this country under that flag from 1972-1977 in the military of our country.  I still have the privilege of serving under that flag as a patriot and citizen of this great country.  Some may ask in scorn and mockery, “when was America great?”, I see the greatness of America everytime I see the flag–God Bless America!