Widgets Magazine

Feb 16, 2014

A Great Man

I know it's after midnight, so it's really not still February 15, but I've been thinking about the fact that the 15th is the birthday of my father-in-law. I've written a little about him before, but it's been a long time. He was born in 1917, and he would be nearly 97 if he were alive today. It was rumored that he was actually born on Valentine's Day, but whoever delivered him believed that might be a difficult birthday for a boy so the date was manipulated to read the 15th. Not that it really matters now, it's just interesting. That could never happen in today's hospitals.

His father died when he was about 2 in the flu epidemic, and his mother never remarried. She was expecting her 4th child and vowed to name the baby after her deceased husband. That is how my sweetie ended up with an aunt named Clyde.

My FIL served in WWII. He saw some terrible things! The story is that his hair turned white overnight while he was in his 20s. He met and married his first wife about that time. They had two children, but by the late 50s the marriage was over. He divorced and married my MIL, and he worked as a plumber and a heating contractor. He raised six more kids in his second family, one of them being my sweetie.

He was well-respected in his community and known to help others regardless of their ability to pay. He was wonderfully supportive of our relationship even while my parents thought I was crazy for wanting to get married. I cherish the hours I spent with him, hearing about his life and talking about all of our futures.

He was always willing to take my sweetie along on jobs when we were first married and then share the money with him as well as give us a bag of groceries before we headed back to our own home. In his shirt he had what he called a "magic pocket." There was always money in it for my MIL or to buy a gallon of milk or two.

He passed away on Columbus Day, 1989. I was at a Tupperware party and when I came home my sweetie was curled up in a ball with our 3 little ones snuggled close by on our bed. It was totally unexpected, a massive heart attack. We had just spent the weekend with him, helping put in a new furnace for my MIL.

Life is so fragile; we never know how long we have to love and enjoy each other. I wish my children would have had the opportunity to know him. He truly was a great man.


Anonymous said...

No wonder your husband is so sweet and kind and loving, he had the best example in all of this world by his Dad..What a lovely tribute to a wonderful loving and giving human being..Why can't others be like your father in law..He seemed so unselfish and kind and loving...Why are we here on earth but to be kind and loving and helping too..God doesn't want us not to be selfish and selfcentered..sounds like your father in law was a true man of God and a loving person at that..kudos for your tribute to such a wonderful human being..Your family gets their loving genes from a wonderful grandfather too, think about that and your Hubs sounds like he is like his Dad..wow whee! hope your valentines day was just as sweet, I just read it and was touched, the electric blanket and the date night to Red Robin and dancing, wow whee..X()

Anonymous said...

I meant to say God doesn't want selfish self-centered human beings in this world, he wants God loving human beings with their families right by their sides and in their hearts!!!!!!!

Marci said...

Thank you for sharing this! He sounds like a wonderful man!

Denise said...

Such a sweet tribute.

LeAnn said...

What a sweet post about your father- in law. I love these kinds of stories. I think we all have them but don't share them often.
Life is fragile and we do need to handle it with care and prayer. I certainly miss my dear parents every day.
I do think you have a terrific husband and I know that my husband is a good catch too. His father was such a spiritual and devoted father and we miss both of them too.
Memories are sweet!
Blessings for sharing this one~


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