B-Daddy

My Monthly Memories: March

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In everyone’s life there’s a hero somewhere. My grandpa was a hero to many, this country, his family, his beloved wife fern. Growing up I had wonderful grand-parents. Unlike most grandparents though, mine wanted to be called by different names. My grandfather was B-daddy. Story of how he became the infamous B-daddy is that my oldest cousin could not pronounce Big Daddy, so it was shortened to B-daddy way back in the early 70’s. He was a WW 2 survivor, fighting alongside his shipmates on the U.S.S. Colorado. The picture below is the actual cruise book, that was left to my mom. The pages are crispy, smelly rembrandts of a time long ago.IMG_0824

 

 

 

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Cruise book from U.S.S. Colorado

My b-daddy never spoke of his days on the ship during WW 2.  After the war was over and he came home, he told his children all 5 of them that he was fighting Tokyo Joe. The first time he told my sisters and I what happened to him was the day of our grand-mommies funeral. He laid down to take a nap and asked me to get a old metal green box from the top of his closet. As I retrieved it, he started to speak of how he became a medic in the navy during WW 2. As he recounted the reason why he entered the war, and fighting the Japanese, I opened the box. Lying on top was what looked like an old yellowed from the ageing process piece of silk. I pulled it out and it revealed itself instantaneously. It was a Japanese national flag, red sun and all. He said,” I found that  floating in the water after we downed a Jap’s ship. There was still little viles of a clear liquid, he could not remember what it was.

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Japanese flag from 1941

After the war he worked for the U.S. Postal service as a mail carrier. Every person that he met, loved him. He was that type of man that always cared maybe a little too much about other peoples problems. He was a story teller, always making people laugh. He loved a good cigar and fishing brought him tremendous joy.  As the days went by he could no longer live alone, like so many elderly people before him he was doomed to be put in an old folks home. I was against it. I have always been against putting loved ones in these places. Perhaps my experiences working in them makes me biased.The first time I saw him there I was shocked. It was all too real. He had become a canvas of brittle bones. His skin barely clinging to his once handsome face. One look and I saw countless memories quickly dissapearing from his once vibrant eyes. He still knew who I was, but had trouble remembering my name.IMG_0822

My favorite childhood place was his home on lake Granbury. I dream of the days lounging on the back porch, watching the boats making wake through the gleaming lake. Hearing the whispering winds blowing through the two massive Pecan trees, that shaded the house in the hot summer sun. Everything is exactly as I once remembered, like time had frozen in this solitude place. He died this past year, on a Wednesday, I was in Biology class, you were alone. I will always be sorry for that. At the National Cemetery, I see all of those that have come before him, now lying peacefully in their eternal beds. So many. My age, fighting and dying for this country we will forever be grateful. You will forever hold a soft spot in my heart. God rest your soul. I love you wherever you are!!

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My B-daddy and I in 1983

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