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Keeping The Door Open

I once heard that if you give up hope on someone, you are slamming the door on the face of God. Have you ever done that? Have you ever thought "Oh, he'll never change." I know I have. One example is how I felt about my father.

I often joke about English being a second language to both my parents. Spanish being my mothers first and English being a second language to my father, because he grew up in Louisiana. The southern part of Louisiana.

Therefore I am not bi-lingual but I am multi-lingual. It is just that anthropologist have not yet given a name for the languages I am actually capable of speaking. However, if someone were to say "He was a ripplin' and a cutting up, a hackin' and a hewin'." I would know what they were talking about. Do you? Okay then. That should count for something.

Most of my memories of my father have him doing something, fishing, watching T.V., or fixing something but a beer was always close in reach. Not mine, but his. Even in all the old black and white photographs. There is dad, just as handsome as can be, with a cowboy hat, t-shirt, jeans, boots and beer bottle in one hand and holding on to a child with the other.

My father didn't have many outside interest beyond fishing and hunting. If you want to add insult to that injury, know that God blessed him with six daughters, not sons. You grow up thinking things are normal until you are old enough to compare your family with the families of your friends and realize your family is different.

Normal families had cats, dog & birds as pets. We had them too, but we also had chickens, turkeys & goats. They served two purposes. One, the kids can play with them and two, when times get rough you can eat 'em. Did I mention that we didn't live in the country but in the suburbs? The children also participated in the slaughtering of these animals, who at one time were thought of as pets. Not the children the animals.

My father grew up poor and these were survival skills he was passing on, which is great, because now if a wild goat ever wonders in my back yard. well, I'll know what to do. We loved and enjoyed our time with our father when we were small but there comes a time when teenage girls go their own way and Dad's are left to themselves.

Unfortunately, my dad spent way too much time alone and seemed to miss so much going on around him, even when he was invited to join in. He preferred the isolation and the beer. Two years ago my father fell and could not get up. He was alone and on the floor for three days before being found.

He had broken a shoulder and was in such poor physical condition he couldn't move. I can't tell you how terrible we all felt for not having checked in on him. He spent months in the hospital, due to discoveries of multiple health challenges and surgeries. It was a long road to recovery for him to get back home.

I was grateful that hospitals don't allow patients to drink but they do allow family members to visit, and the family rallied around him. My father came home and regained his health. Life without drinking has opened up a whole new world for my father. He enjoys visiting with his grandchildren and sitting in for a family game of poker. He takes walks, makes friends with his neighbors and LOVES to shop. He is constantly buying everyone presents, almost to a fault.

He is funny, friendly and enjoyable to be around. This last Christmas he joined the family and it was the first holiday, in twenty-eight years, we had both mom and dad in the same room. He is making his peace and our lives are more enjoyable with him. Yes, sometimes we do slam the door on the face of God but the good news is God is still able to re-open the door, long enough to show us what is on the other side. .

By: Elodia Tate


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