The Popcorn Stand: My dad was the greatest

October 6 will be the one-year anniversary of when my father died.

Jerrel Whisnand died on October 6, 2017 at the age of 82. I’ve been thinking of what kind of man he was and the values he passed along to me.

I never thought of my dad as a tough guy although he had the strongest hand shake of anyone I’ve ever known. And he was part of the toughest generation I’ve ever known.

I remember a few months before he died, my dad was working in the garage and he mangled his thumb pretty bad, I mean it was cut up really bad. He did this early in the morning.

But it didn’t occur to him to stop. Throughout the day he would keep working in the garage only to stop to come into the house to fix the bandages on his thumb.

As mom, dad and I gathered for dinner, I noticed his bandaged thumb and the blood coming from the thumb. A considerable amount of blood.

Again, my dad started to put his dinner on his plate as if everything was normal. I on the other hand said to dad I better take you to the Veterans Hospital in Reno.

When we got to see the doctor there, he was amazed at how mangled my dad’s thumb was. When I watched the doctor patch my dad’s thumb back up it was like watching somebody put together a jigsaw puzzle.

And the doctor did amazing work. Eventually my dad’s thumb was as good as new.

I’ve heard stories like this about others from my dad’s generation how they would sustain a pretty substantial injury, think nothing of it, and finish their shift.

I’ve heard stories about these men whose foot was so swollen and painful they could barely squeeze that foot in their work boot, but they did it because they had to go off to work to put food on their family’s table.

Of course I’m not saying we should all plow through serious injuries like nothing happened, to the contrary. I wished I had known a lot sooner about dad’s mangled thumb.

But that night at the VA Hospital demonstrated to me the grit, the toughness, the values of my dad’s generation and my dad.

It truly was the greatest generation. And my dad was the greatest.


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