I’ve spent most of my adult life knocking the balls off of my old man. He was violent, quick tempered and I thought, unreasonable. I received my first, (of many) punches in the face from him. He could be deceptively charming, articulate and erudite. He was responsible to a fault.
No matter what condition he would get himself into the night before, which wasn’t often, he always showed up for work the next morning.
He worked in the heat treat department at Carr Fastener Inc., one of the more unfavorable positions at that plant. When he was really suffering, he would mutter, “Die, you bastard” to show he was accountable. To himself.
When our family unit was busting at the seams, 12 people in a small apartment, I often wondered why he stayed. I used to look at him, then the back door, and wonder why he wasn’t making use of it. It was misery. His unhappiness could permeate the walls.
We tried to stay outside for a couple hours after he came home and went to bed. Because once he looked at you, he would remember things. We wanted no parts of that. None.
Because of those traumatic years, it’s easy to forget the goodness in him. Believe me, he could care less what you thought. He kept his own counsel.
Even though I never had a family, his logic and sense of responsibility is still with me. (He might disagree.) No matter how tough things got, he stayed, went to work and contributed to the household. He even died early to make it easier on us.
He was “Steady Eddy.” All the time. He brought continuity. He instilled values and a sense of responsibility. The latter being the most important to me. Because, even to this day, I have never once accused anyone else of shitting in my pants. 🙂