Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

My father, Billy Crider, died in 1997. This picture was taken in 1991. I'm looking more and more like it. Sort of Dorian Gray in reverse.

My dad had a dry sense of humor and smiled a lot, but he didn't talk much, and he wasn't demonstrative by any stretch of the imagination.

One thing that amused him was language. He got a big kick out of words and phrases that people used. He heard somebody say he'd been "to the tooth dentist" and wanted me to put that in a book. He told me about someone who'd mentioned a "bird aviary." That tickled him.

That doesn't mean he was a literary sort. I don't think he ever read a novel during my life with him, even one of mine. He read a few nonfiction books, but mostly he liked magazines: Farm and Ranch, The Progressive Farmer, stuff along those lines.

He was a man of many enthusiams, and I'm sure I inherited the accumulation gene from him. He accumulated all kinds of things: cast-iron doorstops, lightning rods (and arrows and balls), arrowheads, barbed wire, pressed glass, R. S. Prussia china, cast-iron skillets, and on and on. At one time he raised exotic chickens in a garden area in our back yard. Well, they were exotic to me. Silver-Spangled Hamburgs, White-Crested Black Polish, and several others I can't remember. Another time, he raised rabbits. I don't remember the names of the different breeds, but I do remember cleaning out from under the pens with a big coal shovel. I also remember being served rabbit for supper one night. I didn't eat any. For a while he wanted to raise chinchillas, but nothing came of that idea.

He managed a freight office in my hometown for many years. During that time, he bought a feed store and managed that, too. I worked in both places on weekends and during the summers from the time I was in the 8th grade until I graduated from college.

Now I see him when I look in the mirror, and I hear him all the time in unguarded moments when I say something or laugh a certain way. It's his voice exactly. And the scary thing is that I can also hear it sometimes when my son, Allen, talks. Allen got the inflections from me, I'm sure, but there it is, third generation. Nature or nurture? I'm betting on nurture in this case. Fathers have a mighty big influence on their kids, which is a pretty scary thought for all you dads out there. Have a great day.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Bill (and all other fathers out there). Nice tribute to your dad and yes, there is some resemblance. His "collecting" reminds me of a certain mutual friend who lives in New Jersey!

What's scary is how many things I do and say like my father too. I recently saw some pictures of my (late) grandfather when he was young and the resemblance of him, my father and me (at certain times) was eerie.

My father is still going strong at 84.

Jeff

David Cranmer said...

Wonderful post Bill. My dad passed away in '05 and had a similar take on language. He always chuckled when someone said they would "keep their eyes peeled." He had a great sense of humor and would have been 81 next month.

Anonymous said...

What a fine tribute to a remarkable man. I'm glad you took time to share your father with us. And I'm glad you absorbed his courage and strength. I had a splendid father, whose joy in living could illuminate a room. But I lost him when I was still young.

Richard Wheeler

Rick Robinson said...

Happy Father's Day Bill! That's a touching post. I wonder what your Dad would think of your blog. Sounds like he might consider it a waste of time.

I miss my father. I don't hear his voice (he died in 1973) when I talk, but my brother and I sound very much alike, right down to the expressions we use.

Happy Father's Day to all.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your post, Bill. Wish I had known your dad. He reminds me of some of the folks I knew growing up.

Hope you get to visit with Angela and Allen today. Haven’t heard from my two, but they’re probably still asleep.

JDuke

Bill Crider said...

Mine are still asleep for sure, John. But maybe they'll call. Later. Much later.

George said...

My Dad died 10 years ago, but I think about him every day. From your tribute, I can see a lot of your Dad in you.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think he would be very happy to read this post. I am lucky to still have my Dad at 94.