My Dad, George Hunt Duff, was a hard worker – but in his old age he worked hard at play too. He was a WWI vet, farmer, owner of the New Lowell General Store, postmaster, and general good guy. He would sing, “Oh froggy went a courtin’ he did ride, uh-huh…” to Stacey when she was young and she’d ask him to sing it over and over again. One year, we got Stacey a tape recorder for her birthday (imagine -at one time that was considered to be quite the technology!) and she recorded my Dad telling jokes, singing songs, and recounting stories. I think she might still have that tape. Funny to hear his voice so many years after he has been gone.
My Dad was an entertainer and a traveler. How loved to go to England when he was in his late 70s. I used to think that was so old! He’d explore and visit friends – all on his own.
My Dad gave me a good life – we didn’t always get along as most kids will fight with their parents and I was no exception. I was blessed, however, to have had the opportunity to get to know my dad as an adult. Our relationship became one of mutual respect. He was proud of me for where I had arrived in life and I was proud of him – well, simply because he was my Dad. My mom passed away much earlier on – we never knew what happened to her but she just lost the ability to walk. My Dad did everything he could for her – but medicine was so much different then.
He lived in his own home in New Lowell and shared it with a family who he knew were struggling at that time. He was very generous. I guess it was more of a symbiotic relationship as that family – who needed his generosity and kindness were also giving my Dad the gift of his own independence and ability to live (and die) in his own home.
The matriarch of that family called me one morning to say that she had been by my Dad’s side when he experienced a heart-attack and died. He knew he was going and just asked her to stay with him. What a way to go – in your own home, surrounded by friends, and quickly.
Yes, I still think of my Dad and how he taught me the value of family and to always look at the bright side of life.
So – 30 years later, Dad, I wish you, “Happy Father’s Day”!
May all of you who read this blog – have the opportunity to meet your parents as adults.