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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dad and Me and Dignity

My father’s name was August and as a child I thought it was odd that he was named after a month. Of course, I never called him August but rather Dad or Daddy. None of his friends called him August either. He was called by his nickname, Lanky, because he was tall and lean for most of his adult life.

But going back to his given name of August, I believe he was given that name because of its meaning of dignity. He was the first born son in his family and his parents had hopes that he would bring both dignity and grace to the family by becoming a priest.

I don’t believe that was ever a plan of my dad’s and any inkling of pursuing that role fell away once he met my mom. I don’t know if it was love at first sight, but it was true love everlasting. My folks displayed a deep and caring love for each that was a great role model to my siblings and me of a strong and dedicated marriage.

I never heard my parents argue; which isn’t to say they didn’t disagree. Rather they didn’t do it in front of us kids. If there were arguments, all we heard were muffled voiced coming from the closed door to their bedroom. There was also the silent treatment from my mom where we knew they were having a fight because they weren’t talking. Like the time we were having an outdoor party for about 20 of our relatives and my dad decided that morning would be a great time to clean out the garage. The looks Mom gave Dad that morning said a thousand words!

My dad was great for saying little in words but lots in looks. When he put his hands on my shoulders and looked into my eyes and said, “Do you now how much you’ve disappointed your mother and me?” Those words would make me melt. I could see in his eyes a great love for me and a desire for me to do better. It wasn’t his way to force his will on me; instead he inspired me to strive to do better. Because of my dad and mom’s love for me and their encouragement, I felt like I could do whatever I hoped and dreamed to be.

I was the youngest of my siblings and believe I got the most of my dad’s attention especially in my teen years. When I was in high school I enjoyed our evening conversations together as Mom prepared dinner. We would argue over differences of opinion but he never belittled me. He did however require me to back up my reasoning with facts. He didn’t want me to puppet his beliefs.

As my parents encouraged my siblings and me to be independent, I wasn’t near home when he died. He’d had some chest pains so my mom took him to the hospital. The doctors decided to keep him overnight to monitor his condition as he had previously had heart attacks. She called and let me know he was there. When I spoke to my dad that evening he sounded upbeat and happy. My last words to him were telling him how much I loved him.

He died later that night. I would have loved to have had more time with my dad, but God decided that he had finished his race. I am grateful for the legacy of love and encouragement that he left me. I try to pass on the same to people I meet.

He died over 25 years ago and I still miss him. I know one day I will see him again in heaven when I, too, finish the plan God has for me. Still I wish I could still call him and say, “Daddy, what do you think about my ideas?”

This post has been my contribution to the CW blog chain with the topic of August as either the word or the month. For more posts like it, click on the links to the left of this post.

Come back this Friday as I celebrate my 100th post and make a special announcement!


  1. Wow!! Emotional read. I miss my daddy too.

  2. Thank you. It's nice to know it touched an emotional chord.

  3. Great post! (I lost my Dad earlier this year, so this resonated with me.)

  4. This is so cool, Chris - probably the most personal post yet! I knew an elderly man named August. I always thought it was a weird name - weird but cool - and everyone did call him by his name. Now that I know what it means, I can think about him with new eyes.

  5. I love hearing about the background of my friends. I lost my father in June of 1982, and my stepfather last September. I think I cried more at my dad's funeral because we never were very close. It would be begging the issue to try and evaluate who went wrong. Probably both of us, in a different way.

    Hey, Chris, why don't we get together in Heaven and introduce each other to our dads? I bet they'd really get along.

    ~ VT

  6. Oh, Chris! What a sweet tribute to your dad. My dad was so much like yours. I miss him, too. Hubby's father's middle name was August and I always thought it a little strange also. A wonderful post, Chris.

  7. Beautiful, Majestic and powerful... this is my favorite of the month of August by far, bless you Chris!!

  8. Chris, what a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to your Dad! Thank you for sharing these words with all of us. They -- and you -- are a blessing. :)

  9. Wonderful post Chris and a beautiful tribute to your Dad. I wonder how many other wonderful names like this have been lost in time?

  10. An excellent tribute to your father and a wonderful contribution to this month's chain. You were blessed to have such a man guide you for so many years. :)