Tuesday, April 01, 2008

daddy would be 79 today - i never heard or knew where he was born - at least i don't remember - i suppose he was born right here in the town he grew up in - he took joy in being born on april fools day and loved playing practical jokes on you - especially if you were a kid - he loved to hear kids laugh -

i know he was what i have come to know as Texas - through and through - gentle and strong at the same time - compassionate when he needed to be and stern when deserved. i miss him more than i imagined i would as a child - those times when a boy feels his father would rather have someone else as a son - do all boys feel this - i never knew - conversations with his friends i overheard - he would often refer to bubba as his son and me as 'jeans boy' - it hurt at the time - hurt a lot -

when he died - it seemed so unreal - no one that close had ever died before - i felt totally unprepared - somewhat abandoned - we had just had 'the talk' - the talk i knew i would one day have in order to feel my life as complete - he cried - i cried -there was understanding - he said he and momma had always known - he laughed when i
asked why didn't he tell me - he hugged me - harder, longer than i ever remember him hugging me before -

i see him in my brothers and sisters - his eyes in one - his nose in another - his actions and reactions in us all - as if we all have an internal mechanism that asks 'what would daddy do - say'.

momma said she thought he knew - knew he was going - the tone of his voice - the talk of forgiveness - the preparations he made with meticulous precision - late in his life, he always wore overalls - he ironed them a few days before he died - something he had never done - but he put a crease in them so sharp it would cut ya' -he enjoyed ironing - ironing men things - jeans and shirts - i remember he would iron bubbas jeans and his own - when he wore them - when we buried daddy, we buried him in those overalls he had starched and ironed not 2 days before.

so you will know ...
he was a kind, gentle and honest man.
he had no time for those with mean or evil thoughts.
he was a just man, with a temper that was capable of engulfing the world he built.
but, when he showed his heart, as he often did, he charmed us all.
he was a man, who even though in need himself, would reach to help others.
he was a man who loved children and the hope they stood for.
he was a man who enjoyed fishing and companionship.
he spoke his love to us all with deeds not words, as words did not come easy for him.
on those occasions when he did speak his love, his words would engulf him and the tears would flow from his eyes - then you would feel the love within this man's heart.
as you read these words i write with so much love and pain, know that you have met then lost the man i called "daddy", some called "billy" and so many simply called "poppa" and that he would have loved you.

Billy Joyce 'BJ' Rash
April 1, 1929 - May 18, 1992


Anonymous said...

Toe, he is so proud reading this today. And if some/you believe he can't read words up above...well he feels your love. We all feel the love you wrote. Peg

Anonymous said...

My Dearest-
As I read this it occurs to me that when he called you "Jean's boy" he meant it as a compliment. Even if it didn't sound like it, even if he himself didn't realize it I think that's right. He saw all the good in your momma in you and all the wildness in himself in Wendell and loved you both for being who you are. Cousin Em