Opinion: Missing Poppa Ralph
Madera Tribune File Photo
Ralph Hill center is being hoisted up by his sons, Brian on the left and Rocky on the right. This snapshot hung on the wall in his room for 10 years at Westgate Convalescent Home.
As the Fathers Day weekend approaches, I envy those of you who can celebrate this marvelous man. Dads and Moms do without to ensure their kids have what they need. As a child, I never knew what a blue collar, a middle-class family we were. We had our own house, both parents lived there and had jobs, Mom as a nurse and Dad as the Quality Dairy milkman.
There was always food on the table and they always found the money for the extras. For me, it was Girl Scouts, and when I got to high school, my class ring. I still have it and usually, wear mine and Fred’s both on Fridays during football season.
If I had, a nickel for every hour I sat in the bleachers watching my brothers play ball, I am pretty I could have a villa in Spain.
My brothers both played football, Rocky was on the track team throwing discus and shot put. Brian wrestled and played baseball. Looking back, I’m fairly sure after-school practice enabled them to skip out on their evening chores.
We were country kids and we all had chores. Never tell a farm Mom or Dad you are bored. You will have so many make-work household tasks to perform you go back to wishing you were bored. Instead, you are scouring the claw foot bathtub.
This is a great photo of my dad being hoisted up after a football game. Brian wearing the number 65 and Rocky wearing number 90. My dad looks as happy as I have ever seen him. Years later someone from the Tribune asked residents at Westgate Convalescent Home for their fondest memories. Daddy said it watching my brothers play varsity football for Madera High School.
Being an adult orphan is a terrible thing. The passing of one’s parents leaves a hole a semi-truck could drive-thru or for that matter flip a U-turn in the middle. Having brothers, sisters and cousins help because they loved your parents too. Possibly more than you do especially the cousins. They typically get your family with the company, house guest manners.
Last weekend, my cousin that now lives in Denver came to visit with three of her grandchildren. We talked some about our childhood and the one or three-word phrase that made us crack up laughing while the rest of the family looks at you like your crazy.
My dad raised rabbits along with a whole menagerie of other farm animals. The subject of the fried rabbit came up. I told my cousin that if I had to in order to survive, I thought I could kill and dress a rabbit. She said she could, too, but the image of watching Daddy do it is still vivid all the years later. More than 50 years have passed and we can still see it clearly on the home movies in our heads.
Please celebrate your parents while you still can. Once there are gone, they are gone for an awfully long time. Any adult orphan can tell you that.
Long days and pleasant nights, have a great weekend.
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