To the editor:
It's a day of celebration, with cakes, barbecues and gifts honoring a man who is a father.
While I only have memories, I can think of all the moments when dad was honored on this special day.
I can look back at a man who had an amazing strength and a deep love of country.
He taught me his three basic R's -respect, responsibility and religion. Although those lessons are very seldom seen in today's world, I leaned them the old way.
There were many times that I didn't understand the lessons when I was younger, but when I became an adult, they clicked in.
There came a time when I didn't remember that hickory switch any more. A lot of time had passed and I understood that honoring each moment that God gave me with my parents was special.
Now I have the memories of sharing Christmases with him and Easter, a time when he carved the turkey at Thanksgiving and set off fireworks on the Fourth of July.
I realized that once he was gone, I couldn't go back and enjoy the happy moments with him. I couldn't relive praying with him and listening to the million funny stories told in his "old country" accent.
While I was the one who helped my father through his older years, I forgot the few disagreements and punishments.
My heart ached when I saw him gasping for breath, unable to eat and losing his ability to walk. I was his daughter, who leaned how to garden, fish and love the outdoors. I was the one who leaned to play baseball as well as he did.
I remember his comedy, not in mistakes made, but in real-life situations that made us chuckle for hours.
It is my father's memory that I honor on this day and know that life wasn't so easy for him as he struggled through years of hardships and hurts, illnesses and pain. He kept on going, though it was difficult with each step.
This was my dad, my friend, a World War II veteran, a strict Democrat and a devoted Catholic.
He was a coalminer who was losing his battle with cancer when he grabbed my hand and said, "Don't ever cry and don't ever be weak and always stand your ground."
His last gift to me was his Louisville Slugger. I keep it displayed by the back door and find a respect for that present, as well as the chap did who broke into my home.
I knew on that day that my father would be watching with a smile on his face and whisper: "I made you tough, girl, and you did good."
I miss you, dad. Happy Father's Day.