Sunday, January 11, 2015

The 11th Club

11 is a significant number in my life.

I was born on an 11th. A September 11th, way back in 1961.

I know, I know. I can almost hear the choir of sympathetic groans being breathed right now. That horrible day in 2001 that made all 9-11s before and since infamous and sad, was also a milestone birthday for me - my fortieth.

But 11 is not just significant for me because of me. I've always loved and felt a fun connection with my dad and my paternal grandmother because they too, were born on an 11th.

Dad was born on January 11, 1928.

 Mama Trudy was born on October 11, 1900.

Mama Trudy holding our blinking Hannah

Lou and I tried to include our 5th child, Elizabeth, in this exclusive 11th club. She was due in July and because I had had some issues birthing children, I was to be induced. We kind of got to pick her birthday! Based on my past birth track record, if we induced me on the night of the 10th, she'd be born on July 11th and get to be in our club!

However, she enjoyed the whole womb vibe longer than we wanted her to, and didn't make her appearance until the 12th. We tried, but she was #sassythenandsheissassynow

So, there's just 3 of us in that special club and today is one of those special 11ths - January 11th. It would have been my dad’s 87th birthday. 
And, come March 20, it will be 11 years since he died.

Since I like commemorating his birthday rather than his death day, and, since the number 11 is standing up tall and proud, I thought I’d list 11 fun facts about my sweet daddy. There is no real order to them and they are completely random. I just wrote what came to me as I sat here thinking about him.

  1.  He LOVED Christmas and giving gifts. He often had a theme that he’d announce and we’d  know that our gifts would be connected to that theme. For example, one year, the theme was “Enlightenment.” Our main gift that year was a copy of this framed picture that his dad, a Methodist minister, had painted.

2. He loved to dance. He'd dance anytime anywhere, and my first dances with him that I remember were in the kitchen with my feet on top of his feet, my hands in his hands and him dancing us around on that old linoleum. I giggled the whole time. I wish I had a picture of that, but I don't. I'm including a picture of him dancing with an old family friend because I love this picture of both Dad and Mrs. Helen Pritchard.

Dancing in our living room!
3.  He was a doctor in a small town in West Tennessee. When he was on call, he'd often need to meet a patient at the office after hours. If they had a laceration that needed to be sewn up, I’d go with him and be his nurse. I made sure the light was exactly where he needed it, opened supplies for him, and poured hydrogen peroxide on the finished product. I also offered a running commentary during the procedure. Bless those very patient patients.

4.  He was a medical doctor who didn’t graduate from high school or college. Crazy, huh? His family moved around a lot when he was in high school and right before he graduated, somebody noticed he was missing a typing credit. His college let him in without it. WWII and joining the Navy messed with attaining all the official college credits, but he had the ones he needed for med school, so they let him without that diploma too!

5. Dad enjoyed golf, and in his later years, he dressed in Payne Stewart fashion. He is also legendary in our family for having a practice swing that was textbook. Absolutely beautiful. But once he addressed the ball, it was a different story. Let’s just say he’d usually end his actual golf shot with the words: “Hugh, you fast swinging idiot!”

6. Dad had an amazing garden. He worked in it most every morning before he went to work and most every afternoon after work. He and mom made quite the team. He’d grow it. She’d cook it or freeze it. 
Not the best garden picture, but best I could find quickly

7. I never saw my dad in a pair of sunglasses or a pair of jeans. 
8. My dad wrote me at least once a week while I was in college. That he did that still wows me. I treasure those letters.

9. All of Dad's letters ended with "Love, Dad" and a square root of some kind - the most frequent being √6 = 2.449. Apparently he had a professor in college that would start his class period by writing different square roots on the board. That obviously stuck with dad and it's been an endearment he used all our lives and one we kids have enjoyed. We had that most familiar square root engraved on his tombstone.

10. Dad was an unusual doctor in the fact that he had beautiful penmanship - and he was very proud of it. I was too, and after seeing this kind of thing done in Southern Living, I had the same done with one of Dad's letters. This particular letter was one he sent to me a few months after I got married. It's one of my favorite things.

I especially love his "L" and his "H"

11. When I started teaching, Dad would call me every Friday morning before I left for school just to say, "It's Friday! Every teacher's favorite day." He was right. It was my favorite day:)

January 11 was/is also one of my favorite days. A good man was born.

Thinking today about the good man God gave and let me call "Daddy."

No comments:

Post a Comment