Anyway - as always - I have to clarify from the beginning - I was raised by my step-father from the time I was 16 months old. I was never able/allowed to have any kind of relationship with my birth father until I was already 30 years old. That’s when both - my mother and birth father reunited and remarried.
My step-father died just after I turned 20 years old. But he was the one that raised me for the majority of my life. The impression made on me all those years has put me in an awkward position with some folks. It’s a very uncomfortable place to be. But the truth remains. And my best possible way I’ve managed to find for explaining my descriptions for both men are this. I refer to my stepfather as my “Daddy”. And I refer to my birth father as my “father”.
Kinda like the way we all call our earthly fathers Daddy - and refer to God as our Father…. I guess. I dunno.
Anyway - today would have been my Daddy’s 71st Birthday. These birthdays are never easy for me - not since his passing. Time will soon be coming to mark the 30th anniversary of his death. And yet - it still feels like it only happened yesterday. Inside - I still feel like that 20 year old that was in no way near ready enough to lose her daddy.
It’s so mind-blowing for me to even consider he would be turning 71 years old today. First thing that crosses my mind is remembering my Grandma Casteel being that same age. I cannot even imagine what my daddy look like today. Combined - both thoughts simply intrigue me.
Oddly enough - the only picture I have of my Daddy is kept in my mind. I dunno. I guess all the pictures went to everyone else when all his belongings were spread out amongst family - and such. I never wanted any of his belongings. In fact - my Grandma Casteel had to call me several times and beg me to come to the house. It was important to her - that “the kids get to have what they want of his, first.” I’ve never been much of a materialistic kind of person. And I remember looking at all his belongings. I remember the emotion I could feel inside - like it was locked up in a cell and banging on the bars to be set free. It was anger.
No - I never wanted any of his belongings. I wanted my Daddy. And I could feel that any of those belongings would only give me anger - not what I wanted - and really needed.
But - I do have something that I have been able to hold on to since the day he was taken from us. My Daddy LOVED Willie Nelson. Willie stood right next to Merle Haggard - B.B. King - Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland - The Righteous Brothers. I can remember him teaching me to dance to the music by B.B. King and Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland - standing on his feet when I was only 6 years old - in the living room on Kingston Drive in Texas City!
Today - I tell people - “Some of my best times spent with my Daddy were in the bathroom!” I dunno - it’s funny to sit and watch the strange looks on their faces show up. Makes me laugh. And I can just hear my Daddy laugh about that!
That man spent more time primping in a bathroom - ten times more than any teenage girl. And he didn’t just fix his hair and shave. He sculpted. It all had to be perfect - not one hair out of place - not one uneven line in that beard and goatee. He always had me roll his sleeves up on his dress shirts - said I always did it just the way he liked them to be cuffed - about two inches from the top of his hands.
And all this - just to go out and get drunk - which led to going to jail on many occasions. If he were a coin - this would be the backside of him that would break hearts of everyone that ever knew him. Cold sober - the man would give you the shirt off his back. Beer number 3 - and he’d forget all about being only 5’ 4” and 138lbs.
But our times in the bathroom included my joy received from sittin’ on the toilet - listening to him sing while he shaved and - sculpted - his vain self! Oh, how he could sing!
About that thing I’ve always held on to for keeping him with me - I guess you could say there’s two things.
Those who knew my Daddy would probably agree with me on this one. When I look deeply into the face of Willie Nelson - watch his facial expressions - the way he moves - I feel like I’m looking at my Daddy. Minus the long hair - those two could pass as twins. It’s a bit freaky.
And then - there’s one particular song that I have always held on to - my special message to my Daddy.
And it goes just like - this.
I sure do need you right now.
And I sure do miss you.