Today we are here to say farewell to someone who was a friend to a lot of people, he was a husband, a father, a brother, and also one of my best friends. Dad was always a strong man with a lot of pride. He was a man who liked getting things done. Not only for himself but for others as well.
From as far back as I can remember, Dad was always finding ways to help his family. He served in the United States Air Force for 22 years, retiring in 1971. During those times we moved around a lot. And it seems like every time we moved, we ended up with an additional member of the family. When the last one came out in 2's Dad said he had enough. He had enough kids for a baseball team and I guess he figured he wasn't ready for his own football team. So there we were at 9 kids and holding.
Getting 11 people around the country in a single vehicle was a challenge sometimes. Keeping food on the table for everyone was a real challenge. Good thing he was an avid fisherman and hunter. It kept food on the table for us at times.
Dad liked the little things in life. He really wasn't interested in fancy things. he prided himself on taking care of his family. But he also liked the fun things in life. He enjoyed clambakes, hunting and fishing and an occasional beer. Dad could throw a baseball or a Frisbee, bit a hook for the boys, and he could fix a bike as well as most small appliances or motors. He could build shelves and cabinets and was pretty handy around the house. He started playing golf after he turned 50 and never took a lesson, but of course some days it showed!!!! He also taught himself how to play the keyboard. He loved to sit and play Gospel hymns like his mother did. I once heard him say that his brother Ralph told him it was his mother talking to him through his playing.
As kids growing up as military brats and moving around, we didn't get to see a lot of our grandparents. Grandma and Grandpa Rose, who lived in Ohio, always enjoyed our coming home. It never failed that when we got ready to leave, Grandpa Rose would insist on us having a piece of watermelon. Not just a little piece mind you, but a quarter of the melon each. I think he did it just to spite dad because he knew that by the time we got to the end of the road someone would have to go the bathroom.
Dad also liked helping other people. I think working at the Senior citizens home in Camden was one of his most enjoyable times. He really liked helping people, no matter how difficult or menial the task.
When Dad was getting ready to have his first heart surgery he was very upset. But he wasn't afraid of having the surgery. He was worried about who would take care of his family. He was always thinking about us. I knew he didn't need the surgery because I thought his heart was special just the way it was.
I'll never forget the first time Dad every took me out shooting. I was about 8-9 years old. He had the 30-06 with him so he decided he would let me shoot it. So he showed me how the gun worked and fired a shot first. I was petrified because I saw fire come out of the end of the gun and was almost deaf (he forgot to tell me to plug my ears). So next it was my turn. He loaded a round in the chamber and told me to take aim at the target. Well, another thing he forgot to mention was holding the gun tight against your shoulder. Well I didn't. And when I pulled the trigger the gun kicked back into me and knocked me on my rear... Dad couldn't tell me if I hit the target because he was laughing so hard.
We all have some very special memories of Dad. Things that we will always cherish and will never go away. Although he has gone on, he will always be there in our hearts. So when you look back on Dad's life, think about those memories and let them bring a smile to your face and warmness to your heart. Now he is in a better place with Grandma and Grandpa Rose and Grandma and Grandpa Delahunt and Uncle Bernie. Now ain't that a reunion!!!
I Love You Dad......
Copyright © 2002 Alan Rose. Published with permission of the author.