Dad truly from the Greatest Generation

Sunday is Father’s Day. Sunday is also my birthday. It will be my second Father’s Day and birthday without my dad. I really haven’t done much to honor my dad since he died. My mom and I have been out to his resting place at the Northern Nevada Veterans Cemetery in Fernley only once since his funeral was held there. His watch sits on my dresser. I keep meaning to wear it to honor him but I never do. I don’t know why. But I do think about him. I think about him a lot. As Father’s Day approaches I’ll again share a story I’ve shared in this Popcorn Stand before. I never thought of my dad as a “tough guy,” although he had the strongest grip of anyone I’ve ever known. But a few months before he died he was working out in the garage and mangled his thumb up pretty bad. I mean really bad. I didn’t know it at the time. My dad, though, just kept working in the garage all day. Oh sure, he would come in every once in a while to wash off his bleeding thumb and to dress and bandage it. When we gathered for dinner, I finally noticed how bad he injured his thumb and how badly he injured it. I told him I needed to take him to the VA Hospital. The doctor who cared for us took one look at dad’s thumb and couldn’t believe his eyes. And he did an amazing job stitching my dad’s thumb back together. It was like a jigsaw puzzle. But that was my dad’s generation. Men like my dad would cut off half their finger at work and go to the hospital — after they finished their shift. I’ve heard stories of men my dad’s age whose foot was so swollen, they could barely walk. But they somehow struggled through the awful pain to put that boot that was way too small on their swollen foot and even though they could barely walk they went off to work. To put food on their family’s table. Some of the greatest generation are with us, but the more we lose them, the more I miss them. And I miss my dad. — Charles Whisnand


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