leadership

For Father’s Day: An Open Letter to My Father

Dear Dad,

I know it’s been since 2009 that you’ve been gone. My hope is to see you again in heaven some day. I am writing a letter that has been overdue. I know I may have told you these things at different times and in different ways. But I want to write it out to remember all the reason’s I celebrate you on Father’s Day. I know that although the last few years of your 91 years you seemed to forget sometimes who we were, I could tell you still knew.

I am grateful you made it through the Great Depression with no access to commercial medicine. Like you used to hint at, what didn’t kill you made you stronger. You used to joke about not having penicillin if you got sick but you had a form of it with the moldy bread you used to have to break off “the bad part” and eat. When we complained about a worm in our apple you would just cut out that part of the apple and eat the rest.

How did you do it? You took care of Momma and six kids. I always tell everyone that yours is a GI’s love story. When many soldiers left their black and Korean children after serving in the Korean War, you went back to find and marry Momma and bring her and Rob, Jeanne, and Morgan back to the States. Thank you for your loving example. You weren’t a man of many words of affection. You wanted to show your love by your actions, not empty words or promises.

I remember you telling me that people on government assistance made more money than you, as you would laugh. I remember your $100 a week paycheck and how Momma would take what you gave her and make purchasing miracles happen at the commissary for us six kids. I learned to eat my food fast but Jeanne would always complain when I ate my one bowl of ice cream for the week so slow to make her envious that I still had dessert.

I’m grateful that as a young man you found a place in President FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps to work. You were so delighted that it was the first time you regularly were able to drink milk and eat sandwiches.

I found your army draft card through an online database. Thank you for serving in World War II like many other black men of that day. You came back to a nation that didn’t want to treat you fairly or equally all the time. I remember Jeanne talking about her bus trip with you to Kentucky and the bus driver trying to demand that the restaurant at the bus stop serve you some food. When I think about it, that wasn’t very long ago.

Well Dad, I hope you are proud of me. I didn’t enter the service like you said I should have when I was in college so I would be more disciplined. I became Dean of Engineering at a senior military college. I don’t feel like I deserve to wear a colonel uniform but I do it proudly. Because you would be proud. And because I get to educate and help train great people like you were back then.

You would be even prouder that I’ve remained faithful to my wife for over 30 years and that she’s been the amazing life partner you let me know in your own way she would be. Thanks for setting the example of loving and caring for Momma until she passed so unexpectedly. And I know you would be so proud of your grandson, John, and his career accomplishments and that he found a super wife, Leslie. He’s such a faithful man and I am so proud of him too. You wouldn’t believe how much Adrianna and Rosa have grown in their intellect and their beauty. You remember how they would sneak into your room to watch TV with you when they were little and eat your animal crackers. Those were special moments that they got to know the amazing man I knew. You would be so proud of them. I am extremely proud of them.

Thank you for setting the example of going to work every day, even when you were sick or it was so cold outside and below zero. Thank you for the lessons in leadership and love you taught me with your example and your words of wisdom. I miss you, Dad. Rest well.

I love you,

Andrew

Copyright © 2022 Andrew B. Williams, PhD, MBA

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One thought on “For Father’s Day: An Open Letter to My Father

  1. Tony DeWitt says:

    Drew,

    I know your dad is proud of you as far as the east is from the west and the north from the south! You and I’ve lived through some of the same situations. I feel you! This was such an inspiring yet humble letter. Tony’77

    Like

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