With my father gone for the second Father’s Day I did not realize the day of recognition was Sunday until opening facebook on Friday and seeing the wishes. My thoughts immediately turned to friends that have lost their fathers this year. Kenneth and Hal White, Linda Bray Thompson and Lana Goss Hamby, I am very sorry for your losses. The void does not seem to decrease, but the good memories will fill your thoughts increasingly with the passage of time.
ALS took my father-in-law before I had the opportunity to meet the beloved man. I think we would have gotten along famously. I hope he is proud and pleased of the way I love his daughter. I am sorry we did not have the chance to spoil our wives together, hunt and watch sports together. You must be so proud of your grandchildren they are all soaring!
My Dad grew up on a farm in the eastern hills of Kentucky in a community called Flat Gap. He learned the meaning of hard work early in life passed down from generations of Jaynes that homesteaded in Johnson County Kentucky. I never knew my father to work one job until late in his life. He either hustled working two jobs or owned a business. He and his best friend Joe Pierce started a sanitation business together. They picked up week old smelly garbage and threw it on an old Ford stake body truck in the beginning. He would come home and bathe off in the back yard with the water hose and a bottle of Clorox then go to the tower and work a shift.
He was a man of few words, but his examples shouted volumes. Bill Jayne could repair anything and no work was beneath him. I could not count the times laying under the garbage trucks handing him wrenches to change out universal joints. The joints always seemed to go out on the hottest summer days baking the garbage in the packer to its fullest bouquet dripping putrid drops of nastiness I don’t want to imagine, but he never complained beyond a loud YUCK when a horrid tasting drop found his mouth. I consciously decided if he can do this without hesitation or commentary I too could do anything without complaint. Thanks Dad.
My Dad did not know the meaning of pace yourself if there was a task at hand he looked like a cartoon animation working at blurring speeds. After years of working with him in this manner it became my work method too. I still laugh about one Saturday morning at my first house the goal was to tame the over grown backyard. There was an unemployed man that I gave odd jobs to occasionally working with us that morning. A few hours had passed and Calvin was about to fall out when he said to me, “Your Dad is busier than a beaver!” asked for his pay and never came knocking again.
I remember two lectures as a child, one on studying that didn’t take and an angered talk regarding laziness that stuck for life. He claimed to be lazy, but I never saw how that was possible. He worked hard and played hard. his passion was quail hunting when Georgia still had a decent population of native birds. He had me decked out in quail hunting attire just a few years after diapers. My first hunting coat hangs by the front door beside his Future Farmers of America jacket. I look at it with amazement that it once fit and smile remembering him grabbing the back of my coat hoisting me out of briar patches. When a covey flushed he never missed with his Browning A5. I carried my Daisy pop gun and clogged the barrel with dirt. When I fired the dirt made a decent pattern. “Did I hit one Dad?” he always assured me I did.
He and I loved fishing as much as hunting, trout in particular. The memories are endless. We fished Alaska three times in my twenties before my legs and arms failed me. The photographs are of our last trip. I had been diagnosed a year and I was saying goodbye to my most favorite place. I got up close and personal with terra firma many times that trip, but my very concerned father never once advised me to take it easy. We stayed in the present and fully lived in the moment. Our last trout fishing trip was on the Chattahoochee River in my boat. When I could no longer fish he hung up his waders too telling friends who would invite him, “If David can’t fish I’m not either.”
He failed to stand in the line for patience and my desire not to ache in pain as my body deteriorated clashed sometimes with his short fuse, but his love and devotion is the sole reason I survived a decade plus of gross incompetence. He was there at my house every morning without fail after he retired to help out. He resolved countless emergencies and rushed over a handful of times to literally save my life.
Dad, thank you for molding me into the man I am, for teaching me empathy, for your unending love and dedication. I love you and miss you. Happy belated Father’s Day to the Dads seeing this. Thanks for reading. Have a great day! dj