The Passing of My Hero

Dad

William Milton Carson

Four years ago today, my father passed on.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about him or wish that I could talk to him.  He was my best friend and I could talk to him about any and everything.  He never judged me harshly and always supported my decisions even though he might not have always agreed with them.

I got my work ethic, sense of humor, temper, my entrepreneurial spirit, and my faith from my father.  You are deeply missed, Dad.  I'm sure you have been watching over me these past four years and there are days that I wish you were here to just talk, exchange a joke, or see your mischeivious wink.  I love you Dad and you are missed by those that knew you best. 

The hardest thing I've ever had to do in life was give my Dad's eulogy.  It made my divorce seem like a walk in the park (even though it wasn't).  So much to say.  Anyway, this blog is for my family and for those that were and were not in attendence of Dad's funeral.

We miss you.

I would like to dedicate this to my Dad (From my sister, Suzy Idhe)

 

A son of a farmer, who awoke at the crack of dawn to make a living for his family,

That is how I remember my dad as a child.  I remember a man with a stern voice and a heart of gold.  I laugh when I think of his practical jokes and his sense of humor.  He definitely was an original!  My dad was a very strong and silent man but in his silence he spoke volumes.  He was a very talented man; he could play just about anything on his accordion.  I don’t know if he ever had lessons, I never asked.  All I know is that it made me happy to hear him play.  More so, I remember the twinkle in his eyes.  I remember his smell, as if he was hugging me now. All through the years, he always smelled the same to me. 

 

My dad was a provider. He always saw that we were taken care of and loved us to no end, even when it wasn’t obvious.  From him, I learned the value of family, his tenaciousness to protect those that he loved, regardless of the consequences.  He worked hard all his life and always had the respect of his kids.  He loved to play tricks!  Oh, how I remember them like yesterday.  I remember him picking me up and tickling me with his beard until my chest exploded from laughter.

 

In my adult life, I saw him as if he had never changed, never aged.  He was still the silly and ornery man that I remember as a child!  I wish I had more time with my dad than I was given.  I sometimes feel like I was cheated years and yet, how could I think that?  My most valuable and cherished memories were with my dad and my mom Linda.  I guess growing up, I never paid much attention to what mattered most…. finding gratitude and understanding of the man I called “Dad”.

 

Those who considered themselves part of his circle of friends loved and adored him and I like to believe that all called him a fair man and selfless friend.  He was also a very proud man, never asked for anything that he could not get himself.  That’s how I remember him.  I remember how much he laughed and how his eyes used to sparkle.

 

I don’t think I will ever see a man as strong as my father was.  He must have been beaten and poked by life a thousand times and not once did I see him fall apart.  You can imagine how confused I felt when I learned that dad’s health was failing.  How could Superman have a weakness?

 

Sad as it may seem, my dad was given an amazing grace.  He did make it through his 69th birthday and it would seem like a million and one years with an amazing woman!  Mom (Linda) has been a pillar to us kids!  Even when we didn’t want her to be!  She was the glue that kept our family strong.  She may never admit to it, or take the credit, but I would not know my dad if it wasn’t for her.  She could never be replaced and she will always be my mom.

 

As I reflect on my life with my Dad…I realize that I am so much like him, as all of us Carson’s are:  Stubborn as a mule, helpful to a fault, tenacious like a bulldog, but loving as a dove.  I will always treasure every single moment and memory of my dad.  I will always miss him. 

 

Today, there have been moments when I thought I heard his voice and then saddened to realize it was just my thoughts taking me away from the sorrow of missing him.  I see my dad winking at us kids when he is up to no good.  I hear him calling out for “ma” from another room…. Or his famous,  “ahhh” as if we were taking him to seriously.  Then, I realize that it isn’t just thoughts.  It is my dad.  I called his store tonight.  I hoped that I would get an answering machine and be able to hear his voice one more time.  Maybe, I would even leave a formal goodbye to my dad.  Instead, I heard a soft sweet voice.  At first I thought it was his angel.  It was my sister-in-law. Kari and my brother Scott were at my dad’s store.  Scott got on the phone and sounded just like my dad.  It made me cry…but it was good.  It only confirms that family is so important, and that you never get a second chance to say, “I love you”.  I am aware of that now. 

 

One man’s dying can make a lot of changes in our family.  It made me re-think of my family, my life and what’s important.  I know that it was hard for dad to leave us all behind, but I also believe that he was going home and that he knew it.  Sickness may have ravaged my dad, took away his strength, made him rely on others, but death gave him peace from pain and a place in heaven.  People wonder if there is a heaven?  I know there is, my dad’s waiting there.  Playing his accordion and singing his heart out.  I bet he is even being his ornery self up there, too.  People wonder if there is a God.  I know he is real.  Who else could have given my dad such an amazing grace?

 

Dad, I will miss you!  You’ll always be in my thoughts and forever you will live in my heart!  I will never forget your smile, your voice, your smell and your love for me….

 

Your daughter Suzy!

 

 

My father was an extremely important man in the lives of his 12 kids.  Dad was the guy who could get things done.  He was a man who wore many “hats” and many roles. 

He was a farmer, horseman, dairyman, gift storeowner, salesman, craftsman, gardener, deacon, and entrepreneur.  Family always came first.  Very few people knew that when my father was in high-school, that he quit school to help my grandparents run there farm when my Uncle Bob went off to the Korean War.  Fewer people know that he went back to school on his own, against my grandparent’s wishes to get his diploma.  My father then attended seminary school for a couple of years until the farm and his family called again.  While my father never became a preacher, he walked with God daily and had the strongest faith of any man that I have ever known.  And like the Bible, our father taught us kids many lessons.

 

Daddy taught us that family came first.  No matter what, you always love your family.  He was always proud of us kids, and his many grandkids!  His door was always open!

 

Dad taught us how to love!  He loved my momma for over 34 years, and my heart beams as you can see the love and affection that my parents had for each other.  My mother always said “Bill put me on a pedestal, and that nobody loved me like your Daddy!  He was my best friend”.

 

Dad also taught us that sometimes love had to be tough!  While my younger brother’s and sister’s (and friends) will attest that I had it easy growing up, my father was always willing to set me in my place when I crossed the line.  There was nothing that I dreaded worse than disappointing my father and my mother.  To see the vein on his forehead jump out, you knew that you were in trouble!  But you also knew that it hurt my daddy more to paddle you than how your butt would feel after a whooping!

 

My daddy also taught us kids the meaning of hard work!  The Lord helps those that help themselves, is a line that I attest to my father and his work ethic.  All of us kids would agree that we got our work ethic from our father.  You work hard.  You make do with what you had, you don’t gripe.  If you wanted something worthwhile, you had to work for it.  I truly believe that this is the greatest gift that my father could give us kids!  I can remember helping my father and my older brothers rake out the silo.  I might have just been a squirt, and been making a bigger mess than helping, but I was working with my daddy!  I will always cherish the lessons that my father shared with me when we were working in the store, yard, or helping others.  You have to get dirty, and you never left a job half-done, and you always give 110%.  Life will not always work out the way that you want it to, but you can over come any obstacle by working hard! (Fresh Bread!)

 

As Suzy mentioned earlier, my Dad had one heck of a sense of humor.  I believe that all of us kids were fortunate to get this gift.  Life is definitely to short to be serious all the time.  Many of you know about my father’s sense of humor.  He always had a joke or a story to tell you.  He and I would often be talking on the phone and he wouldn’t let me go until he told me the latest joke that he either saw on TV, or that he heard from one of his many friends whom would visit him at his store.  This week has been full of stories of how my dad would disappear into he and my mother’s bedroom and reappear wearing some ensemble or costume that would leave his family in stitches.  Whether it was dressing up in one of my mom’s dresses and a wig, or walking out in his cowboy hat, boots, and boxers, or dressing up as a hick at my sister’s Ruby wedding rehearsal.  He loved to have fun and was always up to making us all laugh!  He would often find humor with taking some dried silicon and sticking it up his nose, or making fun of the sawdust that he would pull out of his ears, Daddy would just make you laugh, and the twinkle in his eyes is something that we will all miss.  (Kari’s turtleneck, Kissing him in the locker room, and Scott Sauter’s Date!)

 

My father was always there for his friends.  Whether it was dropping by to visit, or taking time out of his workday to visit with the many friends who would drop by his shop, my daddy always had time for friends.  My dad would often share fresh vegetables from his garden, or fresh bread from the oven with his friends, often giving away all that he had to make others feel special.  I can often remember while us younger kids were in school, that Sunday’s were fresh bread days, and you could almost always expect Mrs. Savage (the driver’s ed teacher) to drop by with her students to partake in my father’s fresh baked buns! Any friend of us kids was a friend of my father and my mother (even those that they didn’t always like).  Our home was always open to our friends, even when we were not there!  If you ever bought something from my father or stopped by to check out my dad’s store, you would often make a friend!  When I was a waiter in college, I can’t tell you the number of times that I would run into someone who had met my dad or bought something from him!  God knows that my father never charged enough for his work.  I truly believed that he found so much joy in making things for people (you could just here the joy in his voice!).  My dad would often tell me about all the special orders that he was making for people and businesses.  Every time I come home around Christmas, I always end up smiling and laughing as I drive around town and notice the yard ornaments, decorations, and swings along with all the other items that my father built. He put so much love, sweat, and sometimes blood (from the occasional nipped finger) into his work, it was hard not to love what he built for you.  I can remember a few years ago when he found out that the high school shop class had run into a pretty hard time.  Supposedly one of the teachers had left the class with little to no wood.  When my father found this out, he quietly donated a bunch of his wood to the shop.  Now the wood he donated wasn’t just the cheap plywood that you can by at McCoy’s either.  But Dad was just that kind of man.  There is another time a couple of illegal aliens from Mexico entered my dad’s shop.  Now my dad didn’t speak Spanish, but somehow he was able to communicate with them to find out that they were headed to Houston and that they just wanted some water to drink.  What did he do?  He got them some water, and then also ran over to the Tortilla factory and bought them something to drink, and then let them use his phone to call their family in Houston.  How many other people do you know who would have done this?  Not to many.  I can’t even say that I would go that far.  To know my father was to love him and respect him. 

 

I talked earlier about the many hats and roles that my father wore.  One role that I failed to mention is the role that he was in my life.  Not only was he my father, he was my best friend.  My father and I are extremely close.  Growing up, there was nothing, and I mean nothing that I couldn’t talk to him about, or that he could talk to me about.  Dad would never push me one way or another when it came to school, work, or other decisions.  He almost always let me make my up my own mind, and then he would support my decision 100%.  This is something that I always loved about my father.  You see, he was not only my daddy, but he was also my best friend. (Wedding Ring Story) 

 

Diabetes might have weakened my father’s heart and health, but you can never shrink the shadow, or fill the boots and the roles that he played in his family’s life.  When I was a junior at Southwest Texas State, my mass communications professor asked the class to identify their hero.  Webster’s Dictionary defines a hero as someone distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility and strength, along with being a person who rules guides or inspires others. While a lot of my classmates wrote down sports stars, actors, or John Wayne, I wrote down my parents.  My professor was nice enough to write a letter to my parents discussing what I wrote.  

 

Read letter>>>>>>

You see, Ingleside not only lost the local carpenter.  And my momma not only lost her husband and us kids a father.  We all lost a hero amongst us!  I’m just glad that I was able to tell my father before he passed how much that he meant to me.  You see, after my father had his first heart attack, he and I discussed the possibility that he could go at anytime.  While that conversation was not one that is not always said, it truly helped me to appreciate the memories that my father and his friends and family had left.  Isn’t that what life is about, the journey!  It’s not about the destination; it’s about what you do along the way.  I know my daddy is in Heaven, smiling down at us right now, and hating the fact that we are making a fuss over him right now.  Well Daddy, we all love you, and we truly thank you for the memories that you have given us.  Before I leave you today, I want to read you a song, trust me; you don’t want me to sing it!  The song is by Holly Dunn and it’s entitled Daddy’s hands.

 

Daddy’s hand!

I remember Daddy´s hands, folded silently in prayer.
And reaching out to hold me, when I had a nightmare.
You could read quite a story, in the callouses and lines.
Years of work and worry had left their mark behind.
I remember Daddy´s hands, how they held my Mama tight,
And patted my back, for something done right.
There are things that I´ve forgotten, that I loved about the man,
But I´ll always remember the love in Daddy´s hands.

Daddy's hands were soft and kind when I was cryin´.
Daddy´s hands, were hard as steel when I´d done wrong.
Daddy´s hands, weren´t always gentle
But I´ve come to understand.
There was always love in Daddy´s hands.

I remember Daddy´s hands, working 'til they bled.
Sacrificed unselfishly, just to keep us all fed.
If I could do things over, I´d live my life again.
And never take for granted the love in Daddy´s hands.

Daddy's hands were soft and kind when I was cryin´.
Daddy´s hands, were hard as steel when I´d done wrong.
Daddy´s hands, weren´t always gentle
But I´ve come to understand.
There was always love in Daddy´s hands.

Daddy's hands were soft and kind when I was cryin´.
Daddy´s hands, were hard as steel when I´d done wrong.
Daddy´s hands, weren´t always gentle
But I´ve come to understand.
There was always love .....
In Daddy´s hands.

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Comments 4 comments

Bel Marshall profile image

Bel Marshall 5 years ago from Michigan

Wow! This just breaks my heart. What a wonderful tribute to a clearly wonderful man.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 5 years ago from Texas

Very touching tribute to your father. It has been almost twenty years since my dads passing and I still feel the way you do. The feeling of loss never goes away and Im glad for that. Thanks for sharing this. CHeers.


dotJenna 5 years ago

This is a fabulous page!!! Makes me cry!!!


bellawritter23 profile image

bellawritter23 5 years ago from California

WOW, very beautiful tribute to your father, I am truly touched by this hub. Very heart gripping!!

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