Today's post is dedicated to TSgt (Ret.) James M. Adams Jr.
For many different reasons we didn't really spend as much time together as we should have or could have done, and even though he wasn't physically in my life for much of it, I learned a great deal from him.
He was a bit of a Marmite character - you either loved him or hated him, and he appeared not to care about that, but appearences can be deceptive!
I never really heard many good things about him - I mean he was no angel - but when I went back to Texas in '99, I got to know him a little better.
To my surprise, so many people loved and respected him. All of them in fact, apart from my Mom's best friend from when when lived there. This was all new to me and I found it a little hard to believe. I mean I knew my Dad right? Apparently I didn't!
It seemed that despite his quirks and shortcomings (and sometimes his cruelty), he was (like it says on his father's grave) a friend to all!
He helped many people who needed help and was quite selfless in that. That honestly surprised me. If there was an ulterior motive (maybe it was the Legion bar in every town) I couldn't see one.
Within his post in the American Legion he helped ex-military, mainly Vietnam veterans, with getting some of what the country and VA owed them.
He was proud of this but I didn't get it at the time. I hated war and therefore all who participated in it. Not until I met some of those who served with him - although they remained tight-lipped about pretty much everything they all went through - did I come to understand that it's not as black and white as all that!
Dad was annoyingly hard-headed (I can already hear some may say that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree there) but he stayed true to himself, regardless of what others had say about him. He fully accepted all he had done wrong too.
He would ALWAYS call me out if I ever bitched about my family - especially my Mom, or anyone else come to think of it. He had so much more respect for others than I ever gave him credit for.
I got to know him more than ever the last time I went back to States 10 years ago. Those three weeks in March 2011 taught me so much more about him. His past. His behaviour. Hell, I learned even more about me!!
His courage in his fight against cancer inspired me not be afraid to make much needed changes in my life. Thankfully I had enough courage to let him know that I was just as proud of him, as he was of me. Something I think he desperately needed to hear.
Dad died 10 years ago today.
So even though I am no longer drinking, I raise my vitrual glass to you Dad.