My biological father was Clint Huffman. He was 38 when I was born and I was only 10 years old when he died, so I never got the chance to know him through adult eyes. I have many fond memories of him from my childhood though. Sitting on his lap or next to him on the couch while we watched Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel or Bonanza on Saturday and Sunday nights while munching on homemade popcorn and malts. He liked to go to estate sales and would take me along with him. Sometimes we would come home empty handed, but other times I would watch him as he picked out his treasures like old guns and old clocks. Some of the clocks I still have and I love them. Not only
A few years after Dad died, my mother remarried. It was a shock to me and my life was forever changed. I had only met him once and I had no idea she was even thinking of getting married again. You see, I was 15 years old, totally self-absorbed and living with my brother and his wife for a short time. One day, Mom comes to pick me up after a voice lesson and this man is sitting in the car with her. She introduced us to each other, told me he lived in Arizona and then dropped me off at my brother's house. A few days later she comes to see me and informs me that she is getting married and the two of us are moving to Arizona to live. Wow!!! That came out of the blue for me!! She also tells me this is happening in the next couple of weeks! So, she gets married, we move to
Arizona and I have a new father. Joe Hardy. He is a wonderful man and the best step-father a girl could ever have. The first thing he did, once we were settled in is ask how much of an allowance I got. I told him and he immediately said that wasn't enough and raised it substantially. That was one way to impress a teenager. My dad Clint, had never been into watching sports on TV a lot, but Joe enjoyed it. Since I didn't know anybody at my new school yet or in my neighborhood, I spent a lot of time at home with Mom and Joe. I was introduced to sports big time and began to enjoy a few of them, especially hockey and the Boston Bruins for some reason. As time went on, Joe proved to be a wonderful father. He always supported me in anything I wanted to do, except for driving the family car when I went through drivers' ed in high school. For some reason he didn't want me to do that, so mom would let me drive after he went to work sometimes. That's really the only thing I can think of where he told me I couldn't do something. Strange, but it was just something he felt strongly about for some reason. As the years rolled by, Joe always showed me he truly thought of me as his daughter in many little ways. After he retired and I had my first child, he volunteered to babysit her so she wouldn't have to go to a day care. That meant a lot to me because I knew she would get good care from him and she did. In fact, her first two-syllable word was "football" because besides taking her for walks in her stroller, he taught her the important things in life like loving TV sports. Then my second daughter came along and he babysat her too. They both loved their Papa. A few years later when I was getting divorced, I asked him and Mom if the girls and I could move in with them temporarily. Joe immediately said yes. Then the next day he quietly said to me, "You know, you don't have to worry about finding another place to live right away." That meant the world to me. Three years later he died after a long and painful illness, but I was there to help Mom take care of him. Some people asked me how I could do it because it was total and around the clock care. I simply said "How could I not?" He was there for me for 24 years. He loved me and I loved him.
Since tomorrow is Father's Day, I wanted to say thank you to my two wonderful fathers. Even though they are no longer here on this earth, I believe they can see the love I have for them both. They weren't perfect, but then no person is. For those reading this, I hope you can find some happy memories about your father. If you can, tell him thank you, whether he is around to hear you or not.