A.J. Was My Step Father and My Hero
My stepfather will always be my hero. He was born near a river and had three brothers and a sister. He was the youngest and often felt as the runt of the family. His oldest brother was worshiped by my father and he followed him around like a puppy dog wherever he went. My father and his brothers were raised on a big river and it was a source of food and recreation for the entire family, including their mother and father. My dad told me about his early childhood and how the boys swam in the river and caught catfish with their bare hands under the banks and how dangerous it was. He told of how he was given the job of carrying the sack of fish as he swam. One day the sack became too heavy and he had to decide whether to let it go or drown. When he returned to the river bank empty handed, his brothers were angry at him and gave him a pretty hard time for some time to come. Another time he was supposed to guard the chickens and keep chicken hawks away. A big shotgun was kept near the back door and when he saw a big hawk circling the yard after the chickens, he grabbed the gun and fired both barrels. He landed on his back in the yard after being thrown from the porch with the blast. He did save the chickens that day.
As my father got older, he spent a lot of time in the woods hunting and shooting a variety of wild game in order to help feed his family. His mother and farther as well as his older brothers and sister all worked hard to do their share in helping support the family. One of the biggest jobs they shared was the building of houses in the area. There was a great need for homes that hundreds of families needed who worked in local cotton mills. My father worked hard at this job until he graduated from high school and later joined the service as his older brothers had done. This was during the big war, WWII. My dad lost his older brother in this war. He was prompted to go and join up then and was sent to the Philippine Islands. He was trained as a mechanic and did well in this while he was in the service.
Upon returning to the states, my dad came back home and was working at a company with his other family members. It was at this time that my future father met his soon-to-be wife. My mother had been in an unhappy marriage a year before and this was about the time that I was born. My stepfather and my mother were married later and now I had a new father to care for me. My biological father was never interested in helping my mother and I, and my new dad soon took over this big responsibility. From the very beginning, my stepfather was a hard worker and held down two jobs. He loved my mother and me and before too long, I had a sister. A new sister was born about two years later and now we had a wonderful and caring family. My stepfather did without many things that he needed just to feed the family. This was to continue over the years to come. His self sacrifice and devotion to his family taught me the good values that I would need in years to come, when I would have a family to care for of my own.
Many stepfathers have had a bad reputation of being uncaring or even abusive to their step children. My father was a rare gem. He was always loving and did everything that he could to care for his children. I was always regarded as his natural son. It was only when I was grown that I realized my two sisters were, in reality, my half-sisters. We grew up in a loving home and never was there mentioned that we were by law, half-siblings. My father was always there to support me and back me up when I needed him. He came to every ball practice that I was in and was very proud of my athletic ability. Even when I became injured and could not resume sports participation, my father never let me down. He often told me to not give up and keep on trying in my school work. He helped me get into junior college and kept encouraging me as I received my college degrees.
I will always remember my father's self sacrifice and love of his family and how he never let me feel that I was a step child. He will always be my hero and the one who picked me up, when I fell down. My mother and I were the recipients of a godsend when my father came into our lives. He was killed in an auto accident after the birth of my second child, and she will always remember her grand dad as loving her and being a special person in her life. My father will always be in my memories as my hero who God sent to save me, as a child.