09-23-2005, 01:34 PM #1
My Dad.......... My Hero!!!!!!!!!
Here is a piece that my dad wrote about Labor Day and Life.........
Its a little long but a great read!!!!!!!!!! Because of my Dad's physical condition I am always concerned of losing him far too early but he's still here and he explains why!!!!!!!
Off the Beat: On Labor Day remember the opportunities in a great nation
By R. ANDREW DUGAN
Published September 4, 2005
Editor's note: Drew Dugan's piece on Labor Day and his calling marks the latest in an occasional series by News-Journal employees on topics outside their beat.
You notice my crutches, maybe the telltale clues of a prosthetic leg. To many, I appear to be a slow-moving train wreck. You might understand why I was puzzled when a journalism friend of mine asked what Labor Day meant to me. After sharing a few thoughts, I was encouraged by him to put them on paper. He is a silver-tongued devil and it took some convincing, because I consider my physical condition a private matter. So, forgive me if I leave some questions unanswered. Certain aspects of my life will remain personal.
But I do understand the natural curiosity in human nature and how that prompts questions like, "What happened to you?" We all know people whose favorite topic of conversation is detailed descriptions, ad nauseam, of each and every ailment and injury, major or minor. I am just the opposite. I prefer respect to sympathy or, God forbid, pity. The scars I carry, including those on the inside, are mine. So, I tend to respond to morbid inquiries with a tight grin and a vague response and hope people will take the hint.
It is my belief how a person was hurt is irrelevant, be it accident, disease, nature, crime or war. If you are still alive, you are still on the job. My job has been interrupted several times by multiple surgeries and recovery periods over a span of decades. I probably could still hang a sign around my neck, "Under construction."
Because most of you don't know me, I will summarize, for clarification purposes only, the aftermath of one blow that befell me. Bone graphs to rebuild my hip weren't successful; the ones that fused 14 vertebrae were. Breathing was difficult while my broken ribs, all of them, healed. Gangrene developed under a nine-month body cast. Pain management in 1967 was a fist full of pills and an injection of morphine every four hours, week after week after week. Withdrawals from the medications were not fun.
In the beginning, some doctors threw in the towel and believed I wouldn't make it. Today, medical professionals are surprised I am still here and moving under my own steam.
But my problems are nothing. I am always humbled when witnessing others with real challenges. Go visit a children's hospital and see for yourself.
With the advent of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, I am classified as a "disabled American" and have "minority" status. I have a disdain for labels. I consider categorization another albatross ? I already have two crutches, and I don't need another one.
Said another way, we all have challenges, some obvious and others unseen. How we meet them is what is important.
Sometimes I am asked where I got my strength. I learned at an early age not to indulge in self-pity. My parents were members of the Greatest Generation that scraped through the Depression. They knew sacrifice and hardship.
My mother, who was a homemaker and later a proprietor of a small business, taught her children, "One does not have to look around very far or long to find someone else with a greater burden." My father, 100 percent U.S. Marine, fought in the South Pacific during World War II and went on to support his large family with work eventually in broadcast advertising across the country.
Mom and Dad were my heroes. They raised not just their children but nieces and nephews as well. Maybe this parental conditioning was imprinted upon me, or perhaps it was just genetics that shaped the psyche of a once pugnacious and hardheaded Irish-Catholic boy growing up wherever my father was assigned.
Like other young men, I had a sense of invulnerability. I often reminded my younger brothers and sisters of the motto on a family crest, translated from Gaelic, "Conquer or die." Do you remember feeling 10-feet tall and bullet proof? All I needed was a cape. I wanted to help save the world.
A time did come, however, when I had more in common with a cracked Humpty Dumpty than an invincible superhero. The end result of reconstructive surgeries left me an amputee on crutches with enough metal in my body to ruin your TV reception.
Nonetheless, I still find little purpose in deliberating on my past or present physical condition. More important are my abilities: what I can accomplish, what I can contribute. As I am getting closer to 60, I now work with the editorial staff at the Longview News-Journal. More important is my life's work: a husband to my beautiful wife Carrie, a father to our five children and caretaker to a busload of other young people ? nieces and nephews and neighborhood kids ? who call me Pops or Uncle.
Were misfortunes of my past out of my control? Yes. Did those events change my life? Yes. Can a person's goals change? Yes, definitely. My dream was to follow exactly in my father's footsteps, from the Marine Corps to the family man, but I had to adapt. My father, who passed away in 1972, always taught me, "Roll with the punches, but never quit."
Several years ago, a young college student of American literature sought my perspective on his prospects. I explained how boundless his opportunities were in this greatest nation on Earth, and I was pleased to see him emboldened. Near the conclusion of our conversation, he announced after some contemplation that I was "very Steinbeckian." Amused, I thanked him for the compliment. The young man grasped the importance of hard work, perseverance and indomitable spirit against overwhelming odds that the novelist John Steinbeck conveyed.
The young man's insight has special significance to me on the one day of the year we salute the American worker: Labor Day. I encourage all American workers, past, present and future, to appreciate their good fortune to live in a land where they can realize a basic human need to be productive and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
My No. 1 job has been to do my best as a husband and father. I don't have a single, illustrious career that I can point to. But as a means to accomplish job No. 1, over the years I have been called: reporter, teacher, coach, rancher and salesman. If I do say so myself, I have done a pretty good job of taking care of what is important.
After all, I'm still here.
God must have more work for me to do.
(c) 2005 Cox Newspapers, Inc. - Longview News-Journal
Last edited by CRUISECONTROL; 09-23-2005 at 01:42 PM.
09-23-2005, 01:51 PM #2
09-23-2005, 02:09 PM #3
that your dad cruiz? good read!!
09-23-2005, 02:25 PM #4Originally Posted by booz
09-23-2005, 04:15 PM #5
bump for dad
09-23-2005, 05:30 PM #6
Sounds like a good man.
09-23-2005, 06:32 PM #7
Cool read. Bump
09-23-2005, 06:40 PM #8
09-23-2005, 07:09 PM #9
Great read man, he's deff a father to be proud of.
09-23-2005, 07:12 PM #10
absolutley great read...
and great dad cruis...
09-23-2005, 07:15 PM #11
You have got a great father cruise, I'm sure you are very proud of him as he is of you. I have a lot of respect for him just after reading that letter. I can imagine how you feel towards him, you're lucky to have a dad like that.
09-24-2005, 09:57 AM #12
09-24-2005, 09:59 AM #13
Your very lucky, sounds like Chest wants his avator changed back!!!
09-24-2005, 10:21 AM #14Originally Posted by BigGuns101
Thanks, and Chest will have to change it himself
09-24-2005, 10:29 AM #15
good stuff cruis.........
09-24-2005, 03:17 PM #16Originally Posted by CRUISECONTROL
09-24-2005, 03:20 PM #17
Ha what did I say that took all of 2 minutes
09-25-2005, 10:51 AM #18Originally Posted by chest6
09-25-2005, 11:06 AM #19AR's Salad Tossing Connoisseur
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
wickedcool read brotha!!!!
09-26-2005, 08:59 AM #20Originally Posted by Justin Sane
09-28-2005, 05:53 AM #21
A truly great man
09-28-2005, 07:34 AM #22Originally Posted by ant_8u
09-28-2005, 07:55 AM #23Originally Posted by CRUISECONTROL
Your father sounds like the kind of Man that I would feel privileged to know.
Originally Posted by CRUISECONTROL
She would ask me if I was having a pity party, because if I was, there were many people who had it much worse than I, and that I should thank God that I had it so good.
09-28-2005, 08:02 AM #24Originally Posted by Bigen12
Yeah anytime I get down ......I think of what my dad deals with everyday and he says he's got it good compared to others!!!!! So my problems soon seem very small
Last edited by CRUISECONTROL; 09-28-2005 at 09:41 AM.
09-28-2005, 08:29 AM #25
It's amazing how strong the human spirit can be. You are very fortunate to have a father and role model with such determination and integrity. I can only imagine the degree of positive impact on you and your siblings created by your father’s presence. You should, as I am sure you are, be very grateful he had the grit to pull thru his ordeal. He is an inspiration to everyone he touches... including a bunch of muscle heads on an Internet message board!
09-28-2005, 09:40 AM #26Originally Posted by ripped4fsu
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