I hope everyone is enjoying a great Father's Day celebrating the men who raised us, mentored us and supported us whether they were kin or friend.
This day is always bittersweet for me as I've never really gotten over losing my dad, Richard John Collins. He died in October, 1985 at 81 years of age. I know he lived a nice long life but.....
He had bought a one way ticket to Chicago, knowing he wouldn't be returning to his home in Fairview Heights, Illinois. We were only together for two days before he had to be rushed by ambulance to Henrotin Hospital where he passed away two days later.
During our short last time together, we made the most of it going to dinner at his favorite restaurant, the Golden Ox, and taking a boat ride on Lake Michigan on the Star of Chicago. When I look back at the photos I took, I should've known. The light had already gone from his eyes and I hadn't seen it.
I treasure each and every memory I had with him and, even though he and my mother divorced when I was 2, they both gave me full measures of their love.
Growing up, I visited him every weekend and he never missed one. He always drove to my mom's house to pick me up. He was a mailman and, as the stories go, got swept away by another woman on his route. When my mom found out, I was instantly removed from their apartment along with her furniture.
I believe until the day they both died, that they still loved each other. Even as a child I could sense it when he came to pick me up. I think she made a rash decision that she wished she could've taken back but she was way too proud and stubborn (a true Taurus).
Anyway, since I always like to look on the bright side, throughout the years, I had two of the most fabulous Christmas celebrations and a great pet in each home (Sam and Inky). And, of course, the love of two of the best parents the world has ever known.
Here's wishing all the men and women who have ever nurtured a child a very Happy Father's Day. We all know parents play both roles at different times and sometimes even full time.
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