Donald M. Danner
My Dad never complained and was slow to anger and quick to forgive. He was the funniest guy around: he could make anything funny. I got upset because he had hardly any groceries that were decent in his refrigerator and we'd bought salmon fillets to make for him. He had no dill: that upset me. He had no lemons or lemon juice, I got even more upset. He had no olive oil and no real butter, just margarine. I got so upset. "Dad, my God, we have to go grocery shopping again. I had no idea mom and you let things go this badly. Dad, we can't really make the salmon. There isn't even olive oil. Dad, olive oil is so good for you too. Where is it? How can you be out of olive oil Dad? Oh my God..."
He looks at me with the Dad look and calmly says, Susan. What? Are you an olive oil salesman now" Break out laughter, as always with Dad. Me, I hop on the bike and ride to the mini mart down the road from his house and buy him olive oil and lemon juice. That was Dad.
He had a rough, heartbreaking childhood - tossed between two people who did not want him and did not deserve him.
He had a smile that lit up any room. He held in his pain. Sometimes he would share a story but not too long, about the hurts of his past. His mother shipped him off to Florida to be with his father. He father soon dropped him off at a truck stop in Florida and said, "hitch a ride back to Pennsylvania with a truck driver." My dad was a kid. He sat on a bench there, alone, tossed away by his mother and his father. Finally a truck driver said, "Kid, what are you doing here?" And my Dad told him and that truck driver brought my Dad all the way back to Pennsylvania.
My Dad had quite a few experiences like that. He caught himself starting to go down the wrong side of the tracks as a teenager, hanging in pool halls with a rough crowd. He was smart. He lied about his age and joined the Marines. The Marines taught him integrity and honor and self esteem and they saved his life. He did 13 years in Military service. He married a very very selfish mean woman and loved her to the end: she caused his death through means that were so convoluted no one could ever convict her of it... she died 6 weeks before him but made damn sure he was going with her.
All he had to say through the long ordeal that stole his life was "she's suffering" "I should have hugged her on that last day?" Hugged her? I thought to myself, when is the last time she embraced YOU? Cooked for YOU? etc. I so wanted to take care of my Dad after my malignant mother was gone but God had other plans. He died one week to the day before I had booked a trip to see him for 10 days and to discuss the easiest way to combine households and move in together.
I wanted so much to take care of my father. I wanted so much for him to be on the receiving end for once in his life. He'd had a hard life and had gone through so much hell. I told him that near the end, "Dad, you've had a lot of hard times in your life". Dad's response, "Oh, I don't know. There were a lot of good years Sue."
After he died I went to view his body privately before cremation and I stroked his hair and told him how much I loved him. He looked so peaceful and full of joy and serenity.
I wish I could be happy for him but I loved my Dad so much that I cannot imagine living without him in my life anymore.
I love you Dad. Forever and for always.