ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dad and His Heart

Updated on March 23, 2012
© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection

Warm Welcome

The snow has stopped for now but the weather is still very cold with a slight wind out there so please hurry in and take a seat. I have the fire still burning in case you are late I will toss another log on for you before I call it a night.

It has been an interesting day. I mentioned my Dad earlier today and he has been on my mind and I thought I would share a few thoughts with you. I think we can all relate to loss in our lives. It effects us all in different ways. I do miss Dad even though it has been going on seven years since he passed away.

Please gather around and let all take some time and think of the impact our parents have had on us and maybe even look deep within and see if we can see some of them in ourselves.

© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection

Dad and I

This picture was taken many years ago as you can see I still had some hair left. I inherited my quickly thinning hair from Dad. He lost most of his before he was twenty. Dad was born and raised until he was 11 in Rhode Island where his parents were both weavers in a factory. Life was not easy then. There were eight children born there and six passed away and are buried there.

The family name still remains in the area with many prominent industries. Rhode Island Cranberry Bogs. Chabot College and Water Engineering project all over the US can be traced back to the name. I once completed a family history for Dad that he treasured. It took me several years and much research but the day I set it in his lap the tears flowed freely. His words were few as he looked at all the names and finally a picture of the house where he was born. "This is my family son and you are part of all this, thank you for this gift."

My Grandparents heard of homestead land in Canada in Alberta and sold all they had and headed north through Virginia and then by rail to the north of our province. Dad used to share with me the stories of his youth were he did the work of a grown man to help the family.

They arrived at the homestead of two quarters of land with one in Dad's name and the other in Granddads name. The first thing was to build a log home. Timber was not a problem as Dad would joke about the only thing he could see that year was Moose, Deer, Rabbits and trees. By the end of the summer they had a small shack built and enough logs down and peeled to start on the main house the following summer.

It was a task of brute labour as they dug the foundation footing that year. Three feet wide and four foot deep which they filled with large rock where later the footing logs would lay. It was the first winter and one of the coldest they had in 1921.

The following year they started on the main house and it rose two stories. All hand hewn square logs with hand made dove tail corners. It would later house a growing family as there yet another 5 children to be born. They earned their living by clearing the timber from the land and selling it to a mill nine miles away. All hauled and manhandled by horse and wagon.

I took Dad back one year in the late eighties and I dropped a plum line down from the second story and the house stood as plum 70 years later as the day it was built. Sadly the following year it got caught in the path of a grass fire and was lost.

Depression Times

The depression hit in the late twenties and Dad was forced to travel south by any means. His way of travel was by hopping onto box cars and eventually found work on a farm just north of Calgary. His earning were meagre but he managed to send any extra home to his parents and family.

When the war broke out Dad signed up. He married my Mom before he left and he shipped out Christmas eve to a whole new world again. Even as an American he was able to sign up as an able bodied Canadian Soldier. He travelled by ship to England then was deployed throughout Europe. Dad never spoke about the war much but shared it had been hard to see what he did.

He returned home to a new wife and baby daughter. He worked in a laundry and took his barbering course in the evenings. I was born the following year. Eventually he was able to own and open a small Barbershop and billiards hall in a small town here in Alberta.

I would watch my Dad start his day at the crack of dawn and work late into the night running his shop. He had a special way with people. Soft yet even in the rough business of a pool hall was able to keep everything in order. I was one of the fortunate kids in town that had access to be able to learn the fine game of billiards. By the time I was 10 I was helping Dad most nights working with him.

He was a fair man, kind and loving to his children yet firm when he needed to be. I laugh now as several years ago Dad wrapped up something special for me. His old razor strap with I have hanging in my studio. His words were simple. "Son if anyone earned the right to call this their own it was you. I want you to keep it as a reminder of the young man I have raised as best I knew how."


© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection

Many Teachings

There are so many things I learned from this man over the years but of all I think the best was the love of nature and the balance that hung so delicate in our hands. His words were "Son we have been charged with looking after all of this." He would wave with his hands. "It is up too you and I and the many who live here to care for it." Care he did. I would watch Dad time and time again bend to pick up a loose piece of garbage even well into his nineties. He was a man who respected all that had been provided. Often I find myself doing the same.

The Barber Shop and Pool Hall started to fail and Dad chose a new vocation at the age of 50. He worked hard and completed his degree as a Nursing Orderly. It was hear he truly found his calling to serve others. Mom would say many times Dad would stay with the lost and the lonely as they passed away so someone would be there. Even today when I go back to the hospital where he worked they still talk about him and the way he was with people.

At the age of 65 Dad retired and he and Mom travelled each year to Mesa Arizona where they had many years of loving life. The last few years Dad grew to old to be driving that distance. They would live in their small trailer all summer long stopping all over to just enjoy life. Often I would drive them, get them parked for a few weeks then return and drive them to the next location.

One time I recall pulling into a secluded spot to move them and there were 30 of the toughest bikers there. Mom was making them all eat cookies and have coffee and Dad was teaching the how to play Horse Shoes. I was mortified and yet when the gang left there were waves and cheers. They had been entertained and appreciated the folks.

© Quill Collection
© Quill Collection

Fishing

The one gift I have always treasured were the early morning fishing trips with just Dad and I to a small river close to home. The first fish and the many years of pleasure that has brought to me. I have fished many places and over many miles because of the love he taught so well.

Dad loved his fishing. He simply valued all the pleasures in life. It did not matter if he caught anything or not. He was doing what he loved. He would be so calm, cool and collected until he caught his fish then he would be a little kid all over.

When Dad was 90 I recall sitting with him on the couch and asking him what his secret to life was. He smiled and with an ever present glint in his eye he answered. Each morning son as I stand before the mirror shaving I still can see the little boy in me smiling back."

So many things come to mind as I sit and write of my Dad. The family water fights, the tricks he would pul on people and get away with it. The tears of joy pouring down his face when we would all gather for a holiday. His pride he would have as he took each of us into his arms and spoke of love and happiness he had to be our Dad.

His affection for Mom remained as strong during the 63 years they were married as it was the first day. The last Christmas Dad was with us he was in terrible pain and suffered a great deal but he managed to hang on until we had all left and he was rushed to the hospital. He lived for another two days and finally just gave up knowing his life purpose had been fulfilled.

Thank you for the memories Dad. Thank you for the love. Thank you for being the mentor you were all those years. Thank you mostly Dad for allowing me to see the little boy looking back at me in the mirror. I miss you but I know you live in me. "Well done good and faithful servant."

© Rolly A. Chabot


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 5 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      So touching. So many years and many fond memories. I could feel the love you had for your father. You were so blessed to have him for so long. I still have a hard time without mom and end up getting upset when I think that her life was cut so short. This article brought me to tears and a flood of memories came washing back. They were tears of joy with my mom. Voted up and shared!:)

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Rolly, thank you for sharing these beautiful memories of your Dad, this is a wonderful tribute to him.

      Voted up and best wishes Lesley

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Wow Rolly, this is THE single most beautiful Hub I have ever read. I feel like I knew your Dad and by the end of this Hub I had tears flowing freely for the love you have shown him. What a very very special person and a major loss to anyone who wasnt able to meet him. My favorite story was the one about the tough bikers eating cookies and playing horseshoes hahah

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Rolly, it has been a wonderful experience to come and sit by the fire this morning and listen to you tell the story of your Dad's life. This hub serves as an amazing tribute to him, a man who was obviously very young at heart. Your story touched me deeply, and made me think of my own father, who passed away 21 years ago now. How lucky we are to have wonderful memories to recall and share with others.

      Voted up and beautiful :)

      Hugs!

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Morning Julianna... sorry but glad for the tears and the joy they brought. To miss someone is good as it means they left and impact on your life. Through your journey you shared with your Mom we were all able to see her beauty through your words and all felt a loss.

      When you look deep within you will see she lives in you and take comfort in that...

      Hugs from Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Lesley... it is good to hold onto what is important in our lives and to reflect. He was a great man in my eyes and I do truly miss him in many ways...

      Thanks for the heartfelt comment.

      Hugs as always

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Morning Ardie... hugs for the tears and thank you for the wonderful comment. He was known by many as a man of great compassion and love and it was demonstrated and yes even wit te bikers. That was Dad and Mom. Glad you found a smiles with my sharing.

      The forst picture was taken when we went to Tip Top Tailors together and Dad just said to the sales staff "Make us look alike" and they dd a great job. The rest of the day he insisted on walking all over the mall a laughed at all the comments people made.

      Hugs from Canada and thank you for reading

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hugs Louise... Thank you for stopping in and sharing about your Dad and yes I agree we were very lucky indeed. I wish that upon each person who reads this.

      Hugs from the NE this morning

    • DavePrice profile image

      DavePrice 5 years ago from Sugar Grove, Ill

      Beautiful, Rolly, beautiful - again I live vicariously through you.

    • profile image

      coffeesnob 5 years ago

      What wonderful memories. I think of my dad often. It doesn't take much to make me remember. A hot bowl of stew, a day working in the garden, or a family gathering at Thanksgiving...and so much more. The only think lacking was spiritual direction. Even still I have many good memories. Thanks, brother!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      what a beautiful tribute to your dad, Rolly. Memories, IF good become your strength and help you in this lifetime. I am happy that your dad left you with so many beautiful memories.

      Cheers!

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Oh goodness! I didnt even realize you both were in matching outfits in the first picture. That's so much fun heheh

    • FordeAhern profile image

      FordeAhern 5 years ago from Broadford, Co. Limerick. ireland

      What lovely memories you have Rolly. Your Dad sounds like he was a sweet sweet man. I am so lucky I still have my parents and hope to have them for a long time to come. Sitting here beside my own fire but not as big as yours. Thank you again for a lovely story.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi CS... funny the little things can spark such warm memories... hold them near and dear...

      Hugs

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Ruchira and welcome again to the Fireside... there are many things he left me with and I have come to later realize them. Thanks for reading and hope you find some peace as well.

      Hugs

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi again Ardie... good you stopped around again to have a peek. Dad and I could have the greatest time doing the silly things like that. I once came out of the Yukon with and earring and talked him into getting one at 82. He was all game and when Mom saw it she near collapsed... what a hoot.

      Hugs again

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi FordeAhern and welcome to the Fireside... thank you for the comment and I highly encourage you to spend as much time as you can with your parents. Draw close and love and be loved. Time passes far to quickly...

      Hugs from Canada

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Rolly, Men like your Dad are heroes. If kids today could learn the work ethic of your Dad their lives would be greatly enriched. My Dad did the same thing at the end of his life. I had been home for a month. Thought dad was doing OK. Went home. It took two days to get home; had been home for 4 days when we got the word he was gone. That was 34 years ago and I still miss him.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi tirelesstraveler ... Thank you stopping and finding the Fireside and taking some rest on the journey. Your comment is well received and appreciated by myself and the others who will stop.

      It was great you had the time you did wit your Dad, sorry to hear you lost him so quickly. As I was reading your comment it struck me of the number of children there are today out there who are fatherless. What a shame for them and even worse for the fathers who are missing out on so much love to be given and received.

      Hugs from Canada

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      Rolly - what a beautiful story. You were so lucky to have such loving and caring parents. I can only imagine. But I do have my Father in heaven and He has been very gracious.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Cindy... He is and we are ever so lucky. Thank you for dropping by and saying hello...

      Many Hugs

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Rolly I enjoyed reading your story about your Dad. What great memories to savor. When i read stories about the twenties, I an amazed at how difficult the times were but people survived the hardships, built their own homes, it is remarkable. Thank you again for sharing another part of your life with us..

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Always... many times Dad and I would sit on the deck outside the Pol Hall and he would share with me the lessons they learned through the harder years. It is something we have all forgotten about.

      I just had to laugh here thinking of Dad cutting my hair... it was always the same he would cut half off then stop and make me sit through a lesson abou the birds and the bees... lol... too funny... sorry...

      Hugs from Canada

    • Lenzy profile image

      Lenzy 5 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      This was a really nice hub. You were able to give us great insight into your father's life and your relationship together. I grew up in Barrington, Rhode Island near the lace mills so can relate. Thank you. Lenzy

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Lenzy... welcome to the Fireside and thank you saying hello and such a nice comment. Dad and his family were in Coventry RI for a number of years. Planning on coming out that way some time in the future. I do want to visit in early fall and see the colours Dad spoke of often.

      Hugs from Canada

    • AnnaCia profile image

      AnnaCia 5 years ago

      This is a nice way to carry your dad with you. I am beginning to read your hubs and to tell you the truth, I really like your style. I always feel invited to your stories. You create this special place for each one of your readers. This story is memorable. Thank you for sharing.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I can't imagine a heart this would not touch. You were so very lucky and your dad will always be here as long as he is in your memories and your heart. The part about not speaking of the bad war and working in a hospital around the dying both applied to my dad too so that made it special to me too, remembering those things. I love reading books of people of this time so it was very special hearing it from a friend knowing it is all fact. Thank you so much for sharing this. GBY

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Jackie... many hugs for you and the time you had wit your Dad... I bet they would have much to talk about... smiles.

      I often think of the many who have not had such a great parental up bringing and the hard times our parents faced. I guess we were very fortunate. We have been taught to love and care for each other and hopefully we can do so with the tools we have been given. Time for us all to begin reinvesting in this next generation... above all know that you are profoundly loved by all who you touch.

      Hugs from Canada

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 5 years ago from Michigan

      As you described all of the good qualities in your Dad, I saw you over and over. It was wonderful to take a peek into your past and know that your Dad spent many hours teaching you by his example and with his convictions and love. Your Dad's heart for people has been passed down to you. I thank God for the gift of your caring heart.

      Beautiful Hub of memories Rolly.

      Hugs!

      Mekenzie

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Mekenzie and welcome to the Fireside... he was a man to remember indeed... many qualities and at the same time filled with pranks and life was a joy for him... Miss him dearly.

      Hugs to you and Gary and the family

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      I saw this on Facebook and so glad I did.. it is so beautiful.. I am crying.. what a wonderful tribute to a wonderful father you had.... I can relate I just lost ...my mom last July... she was a wonderful mom.. she suffered greatly before she died.. I am sharing your wonderful tribute on Facebook and pinning

      Debbie

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Deborah... thank you for the comment. What you spoke brought a tear as well. What we have in life is so easy to overlook with the busy world we live in. Far to many forget to treasure what they have in friends and family and suffer a far greater loss for not taking the time. What a blessing to hear your mom had you...

      Special Hugs for you from Canada

    • profile image

      AudraLeigh 4 years ago

      I see where you get your wonderful ways What a get tribute to your Dad! Just wonderful!!!

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Audra... glad you found this one. Dad was a very special man. The last few years I had him around we grew very close. He became my greatest friend and even today I miss him.

      Hugs my friend...

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 4 years ago from Central United States

      Was I one of the lucky ones? I was able to spend the last days of their lives with each of my parents. They both knew how much I loved them, there was never a doubt that I was loved.

      My tribute to my father is different than yours. I could have written a lasting article as I am sure you have. Instead my company is named after him. All the good we do in the world is thanks to what I learned from him.

      There are no tears as I am sure you are aware this brings out in people who have lost loving parents. Just a lot of people whose lives have been changed for the better because of the person my parents created.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi wheelinallover... great words of wisdom and well taught. It is the seeds of love one plants into the youth of today which brings about the adults and teachers of tomorrow.

      Like you I was blessed to have a great mentor and example. Even though I have made my fair share of mistakes in life dads spirit still lives on today.

      Hugs from Canada

    • klidstone1970 profile image

      இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу 2 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

      How lovely. These beautiful words would have made your Dad very proud. Well done. Kim

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image
      Author

      Rolly A Chabot 2 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Kim... thank you for the kind words and welcome to the Fireside... Dad was a wonderful man in so many ways and certainly a mentor over the years. I often regret being so far from home living in remote locations away from him. The last few years he was with us we spent many an hour fishing, chatting. I do miss him...

      Hugs from Alberta

    Click to Rate This Article