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This blog post is dedicated to MPS (May 4, 1924 – September 23, 2011).  I love you, Daddy!

apples without caption

This photo was in the paper on October 29, 2000, he was 75.  In January of 2000, we had moved into this house next door to my parents.  Everyday he would walk down the path to visit me and the girls (they were little!) with his dog Sioux.  He would ride his tractor around, work in his garden, drive around to visit friends,  AND he still went to work at the cider mill.  He always did as much as he possibly could.  He loved the outdoors and he was a hard worker.  The last few years had been so difficult for him as his health declined and also his ability to do the things he loved.  Just spending time with him, was all we could give him.  We wanted to ease his pain, but there was nothing we could do.  His day, when his pain ended, was September 23, 2010.  His life ended as he wanted it, surrounded by his family and we let him go, encouraged him to go — off to a place free of pain where he could once again be himself.

He leaves behind millions of memories that we will never forget.  I will never look at a clover patch without thinking of him.  He had this uncanny knack of immediately spotting four leaf clovers (or even 5, 6, 7, or 8 leaf clovers!).  Driving down the road, they are everywhere – the little red pick-up trucks he loved  so much. When I was in high school, he drove me to the farm with him  every morning where I picked up the bus for school.  Early in my high school career, his truck was so old that on rainy mornings water from the road would spash up and in through the holes on the floor leaving me with wet nylons and feet.  I don’t know why, but this always made me laugh.  (You would think, it would make one cross!) I would also get off the bus at the farm and would work at the cider mill until it was time to  go home at 6.  Being a farm, there were usually kittens around.  I’ve been thinking of this memory for last couple of weeks and finally pulled and scanned the photo:

dad 2000 at mill1297

I have  a whole series of photos that goes with this that shows me trying to take photos of the kittens and me with the kittens, but I love this one of my dad holding the kittens so I can take their photo all together.  I don’t think there are words for a dad who would do something silly like that on the whim of his 14 year old daughter.

My sister and I came to him rather late in his life — he was 44 when I was born and 46 when my sister was born.  We adored him. We followed him everywhere.  When we were little, we would go to work with him or the store, or where ever and follow him around.   He would fool around with us by stopping suddenly and whoever was directly behind him would crash into him and the other of us would crash into the first.  I can still remember the giggles!  And he could yell too.  He hated when we bickered.  Which I never understood at the time, but now having children myself, oh, it drives me nuts and makes me yell too!  We loved our daddy though no matter what.  And we still do and always will.

dad 2000 at mill1296

This is the photo that sits on my desk — my college graduation.  Nothing made me happier than making my dad proud of me.  I can look at this photo and know that he was. He was proud of both his girls.  My sister says that having one of his children build a home next to his and raise her children here was his lifelong dream.  I am so proud and honored to have been here for him.  I love that my girls were able to know him and love him.  Hugs and high-fives were given out like candy.  We will miss you, Papa.

There is no way I can write everything in this blog post.  I hope to remember him for always and through whatever I do — conversations with family and friends, facebook postings, future blogs posts — share my memories and feelings that I have for my dad.

Leading up to the twenty-third, my dad was in the hospital and rehab facility for 12 days. He was in 7 rooms during that time (3, 428, 115, 12, 528, 409, 401) and I started knitting a pair of socks.  I haven’t completely settled on the name for these socks but I think of them as Comfort Socks.  One of these socks I was knitting in the final room on the twenty-third, and to remember which it was, I have duplicate stitched a letter M into the cuff for Martin.

memory socks1293

I purchased the yarn from Tina of Bittersweet Woolery this summer at WOOL (also a weekend of bittersweet memories, but still a special and magical time). The pattern is the basic Yankee Sock Knitter pattern, but in the ribbing, I knit every other row.  These socks are for me.  I will wear them and think of you, Dad.  For always.

memory socks1290

11/5/2010 – edited to remove full names

13 Responses to “Bitter Sweet”
  1. Tamara,
    My condolence to you and your family.

  2. Your sister says:

    Too many good memories to write about. I love you so much. We are so blessed.

  3. Tamara, I can only imagine your sorrow, it’s been a really rough year for you. May your heart’s load lighten when you’re ready, and not a moment before or later. It is my intense honor that my yarn became such beloved tokens of your father’s memory.

  4. Oh Tamara, I’m so sorry. This was a lovely tribute. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  5. What a lovely tribute to your father. Wear your socks with warm feet and a warm heart.

  6. I am happy that you decided on the M overstitch for those lovely socks..boy, you finished that second one in a jif!! Where them proudly, as I know you will!!!

  7. What a touching legacy your dear Father has left, and what a loving tribute to him you’ve written. What a wonderful idea about the socks – and duplicate stitching his M into it.

  8. Tamara,
    Your Daddy sounds like a wonderful man and excellent father. You’re very lucky to have had him! Our family is thinking of yours and may many happy memories of him come to you forever.

  9. So sorry to hear of your loss. I was moved reading your post, what a wonderful man and how many lovely memories. It’s interesting how we fiberphiles have projects for important life events. I recently knit a hat for my new son with handspun made from your beautiful fiber, and it was a chance to knit up all my hope and love for our new family member into something warm and cozy. I can tell there is a lot of love in your Comfort Socks, too.

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  11. Robin H says:

    Love the story about your Father and the old pictures! Makes me think about my Dad…1929 – 2002…his life was cut short by cancer….but I lived at home w/my parents until I was 29 and totally enjoyed that portion of my life.

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