A Hidden Side – Memories of Dad

My Dad passed away recently. I wrote some stories for his memorial service but I decided I’d like to share these with family, friends, fans, anyone who might be interested. I hope you enjoy them. They’ll be categorized under “Memories” as they don’t tie into my actual writing work.

A hidden side to my Dad that most don’t know is that he was really a creative, artistic soul. Most people who knew my Dad remember him as hard-working, which he was. He worked a lot to provide for his family. Owning a dime store in a small town was not an easy path but Dad was good at it.

What most didn’t see was the beauty he also created. My Dad was a storyteller, a wood-worker, and a musician. The number of hours I spent with my Dad listening to him play guitar or him teaching me to play are innumerable. My sister is the piano player and is incredibly talented in her own right. She gets her musicality from Dad.

I play guitar as a way to remember and honor my Dad. I never had his or her talent for it but I enjoy it. I remember one year for Father’s Day I worked and scraped and saved to buy him a special collection of Beatles Albums. It was a complete LP set of every album, still sealed. What’s more they were the British versions, so they had extra songs that weren’t released in America. (He had every American version of the albums.)

Dad and I spent the entire weekend listening to every single album. We sat up that Saturday until I think 3 am listening. I recall I was falling asleep listening to the White Album. It’s a beautiful memory but more than that as we would listen to some songs he would get this smile and his eyes would light up. In particular I remember “She’s So Heavy” was on. He cocked his head, smiled, and said “Oh!” He grabbed his guitar and played the main lick of that song almost perfectly. After a couple of minutes he had it down then had me get my guitar and started teaching me the lick.

As I grew up I loved playing guitar because of him but from an early age I was a writer. I loved telling stories and writing them. In my teens I started getting serious about creating stories. I wrote a lot and Dad never said much about it. I thought he didn’t care much one way or the other, honestly. Then one Sunday we were sitting around watching a movie and he asked to see what I was working on.

I showed him the story and he thought it was good. He told me he too always wanted to be a writer as well but never felt he had the time. He had me when he was young and still in the Navy and my sister was not far behind so he had to get a job and provide. Dad was nothing if not a man of principles and mid-western values.

That day we went to the computer I wrote on and together we started writing a story. It was a special moment in my life. It was one of those times when a man who didn’t always say what he felt showed me the love he had for me. More he showed me a beautiful part of his soul that he kept hidden away. He never had time to explore that side of himself.

Later in life, I followed in Dad’s footsteps. I worked in business for years but deep inside I always wanted to be a writer. Like Dad I had a family and had to do the “right” thing. I had to provide for and take care of my kids. Things happened and one day I decided I was just going to go for it.

I published a book. It did okay. I published another. Then another and then I started making enough money to provide for my family. Over the course of a year I became a full time author. My Dad read all my novels. He would stop people on the street and tell them about his son, the author. He would tell me how proud he was and how much he enjoyed the stories. He always wanted the next book.

Now I write and I remember Dad. This hidden side that I don’t think very many people know about him. The artist. The beautiful soul.

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