I’ve been twice blessed, well, more than twice but when it comes to families, I hit the lottery. My ‘core’ family was as close to Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best or the Cleavers in Leave it to Beaver than most.
My Dad was the head and sole bread-earner, Mom stayed home, managed the household and took care of my brother and me. Steve was more the ‘hand-full’ than I was, at least, that was my take on it. We were expected to do our best in school, be obedient, and, most important, respectful of everyone, especially adults, grandparents and anyone in uniform to include police, firemen and the milkman.
We ‘wanted’ for nothing however our whims weren’t indulged, our activities weren’t planned and if you broke something, like your bike, you learned how to fix it or it was given away to ‘someone who would appreciate it’. We played outside, had family dinner together every night, completed our chores before playing and were loved, cherished and safe.
Time marches on. We grew up and things changed. College, weddings, children took the place of play, family dinners around the red Formica table and that ‘forever’ home. We all stayed connected whether by phone call, letters and visits especially on holidays.
My ‘married family’ life was more like the sitcom All in the Family. After divorcing, I swore I’d never again sign my name on a marriage license – then I met Jeff and his family. If I fell hard for Jeff, I fell even harder for his family from the first day I met them. They had no idea Jeff was dating anyone special and then they all found out at the same time! On a beautiful weekend we ventured to MD for Sunday dinner. We walked into his Mom’s kitchen and he said, “Mom, I’d like you to meet Rosanne. We’re getting married.” My first thought – I hope she doesn’t faint! No problem. Dot walked over, put her arms around me and said “Welcome to the family.” Similar reactions were received from his Dad, two brothers and their wives. I was hoping this was real and not some Twilight Zone episode.
Time marches on. Things change. Today my ‘core’ family now consists of one uncle, nieces, nephews and a few cousins. Everyone else has gone to their eternal rest. Most have gone up and a few, I’m sure, have gone down.
As for Jeff’s family, his Mom has passed however his Dad, Al Taylor, is still with us. At this writing he will be 97 July 16, 2020. There isn’t a person this man has come in contact with who hasn’t learned something from him whether it’s by his example, his abilities or his ‘wise sayings’. He ‘walks his talk’, treats people with respect whether they’ve earned it or not and always lives within his ‘means’. He has his points of view, mostly black and white, and is ready, willing and able to debate them with you at the drop of a hat.
I consider Al Taylor a second Dad and someone I will always remember and love. You see, Dad is currently on Hospice and VA care. His wish is to ‘go home’ and our wish is whatever he wants.
Someone once said “Any man can be a Father – it takes someone special to be a Dad.” I’ve been twice blessed. I’ve had two Dads.