Monday, March 19, 2012

The Feast of St. Joseph, A Day to Remember My Dad

Today, March 19, is the feast of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, and a carpenter by trade.

While most people celebrate their dads on Father's Day in June --which I do as well--I also take time to think about my dad on March 19, the feast day of St. Joseph.

My late father was no saint--just ask anyone who knew him--but he taught me many life lessons. Among them are:

* Be proud of who you are. We were Irish-American Catholics and poor, but it didn't seem to matter. Dad was proud of his Irish heritage. Although he wasn't a big man, he never backed down from a fight--in fact, he probably started many--usually in a neighborhood tavern after a few Buds. (That's the not-being-a-saint part.)

* Be proud of your country: Dad was a decorated World War II Army Infantry soldier who served in the Pacific Theater. While he rarely talked about his time in the "Big War," he was very patriotic. He belonged to the Disabled American Veterans, and we flew the flag on our front porch, especially on patriotic days.

* Know your tools: Like St. Joseph, my dad worked with his hands. He was a carpenter and an enamel sparyer by trade. At home, he liked to tinker and fix things. When he did, he sent one of us kids to fetch him a tool. But Dad's tool box was sacred; no one got to open the lid unless Dad sent us to get something for him. When I got married, my husband was surprised that I knew the difference between a phillips and a flathead screwdriver.

* Fall in love with words: Every day Dad worked the crossword puzzle, the word jumble, and the crypto-quip. His love for playing with words rubbed off on me. Dad also loved to read, especially the newspapers. We subscribed to the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the now-defunct Globe Democrat (his favorite), and Dad read them from cover-to-cover, except maybe the ads. We never got to touch the paper until Dad finished reading it. When we were little, Dad read the Sunday funnies to us. His favorites were Dagwood, Little Lulu, and of course Beetle Bailey.

* Get a good government job. With a house full of kids, our folks couldn't afford to send us to college, so Dad urged us to get jobs working for the government. My sisters Kathleen, Bridget, Glenda, and I all did just that. I started working as a clerk-stenographer for the Army ten days after high school graduation--which helped me pay for night school and a college degree. 

So, today I'm taking time to remember my dad, James P. Duly, Sr. In fact, this evening at supper time I might just tip a little brown bottle of Bud in his memory. Here's to you, Dad!

17 comments:

  1. Nice post, Donna, and a great idea to remember fathers on St. Joseph's day. Your description of your dad called up my dad in many ways...oh, that Greatest Generation...

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  2. Hi Claudia,
    Thanks. They were a great generation!
    Donna

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  3. Donna, that's a loving and true tribute for your dad. My dad (who's still going strong at 88) is from that generation as well. Different men from the fathers today...but no less a Dad for it.

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    1. Hey Cathy,
      Thanks. You are so right.
      Donna

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  4. Very sweet post, Donna. I'm sure your dad is smiling down on you from heaven!

    Pat
    Critter Alley

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  5. Such a nice post for your dad.

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    Replies
    1. Such sound advice! He prepared you well.

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  6. Hi Lynn, Val, and Mary,
    Thanks, ladies.
    Donna

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  7. What a lovely salute to your dad. (And I think he's deserving of a 40-ouncer, if Buds come in that size.)

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  8. You incorporated life lessons from your dad, and used them in writing. Now your tribute to your father touches us. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed this!

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  9. Hi Sioux,
    Thanks. Yep. Beer was his beverage of choice.
    Donna

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  10. Hi Linda,
    Thanks! It was one of those spontaneous posts that just kind of wrote itself.
    Donna

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  11. This was a nice tribute to your father. He sounds like a man I would have liked to know.

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  12. Very nice post. Since words are your thing, you might be interested in a series of posts I have been doing on the word play involved in cryptic crosswords. The first one is: http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2012/01/cryptic-crosswords-solving-hints-1.html
    It has now evolved into a daily series. I find it great fun - much better than ordinary crosswords.

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  13. Hi Juliann,
    Thanks for your kind words. I'm proud to be my dad's daughter.

    Hi Carol,
    I will check it out.

    Donna

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