On this Father's Day I pay tribute to my late father, James P. "Jim" Duly, Sr., who was born in 1916 and passed away in 1983. Dad was the sixth child of eleven children, and he lived a hard life during hard times. He grew up during the Depression and served in the Army Infantry during World War II. Only Dad, three of his brothers, and one sister survived to adulthood.
My dad was an Irish-American who loved all things Irish, especially telling stories, arguing about politics, boxing, and drinking beer. On St. Patrick's Day he'd tip a few then show us his version of the Irish Jig. He liked to tell puns and sing off-color ditties that I didn't realize were off-color until I was an adult.
The following is an excerpt of my essay, "A Just Man," which was published in 2012 in Life Lessons from Dad, published by Write Integrity Press.
While my father was no saint, he was a good dad who taught me important lessons which have served me well, and which I hope to pass along to my grandchildren. Among Dad’s life lessons are:
* Be proud of who you are. When Dad wasn’t in the Veteran’s hospital receiving treatment for a service-connected disability, he performed hard physical labor at a local refrigeration plant. While small in stature, he was big on courage. He was proud of his country and never backed down from a fight.
* Get a good job. With a house full of kids, our folks couldn't afford to send us to college, so Dad urged us to get good-paying jobs with the government after we graduated from high school. My sisters Kathleen, Bridget, Glenda, and I took his advice. Ten days after high school graduation, I started working as a clerk-stenographer for the Army--which helped pay for night school courses and a college degree.
* Never stop learning. Dad had a curious mind and loved to read. One of my fondest childhood memories is of Dad reading the Sunday funnies to us. Dad’s thirst for knowledge and his love for words rubbed off on me.
So, today I remember my late father, James P. "Jim" Duly, Sr.
I admire Dad’s wit and wisdom, and his love for family, faith, and freedom. Dad taught me how to be proud of who I am, cherish my freedom, stay curious about the world and never stop learning.
Today, in Dad's honor, I'll drink a beer and wish him "Cheers" in Irish: "Slainte!"