Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Happy Birthday, Daddy

If my father were still alive, he would turn 81 years old today. Amazing.

One of those unsung, silent, "Greatest Generation" people that Brokaw writes about, Daddy was at times challenging, at times unreasonable, but a father and grandfather who loved me and mine unconditionally. In retrospect, if I had lost both legs above the knee at the age of 19, in a war that didn't really end all wars after all, I would be far more unreasonable.

One of the images of him that stays most clearly in my mind is of him sitting in the yard in his wheelchair, watching the horses run in the pasture, no longer able to ride. He would shift and lean in his chair, and I know he was dreaming of the years he rode. Horses had been his passion since he was a young boy.

On Saturday mornings, he would wheel around the kitchen, heating coffee, whistling and singing, while my mother slept in. I loved lying in bed on those mornings, and listening to the soft noises filtering up from the kitchen. He was a lark, as am I.

Oh, how he loved his grandchildren. Each one was the most beautiful baby in the world to him, and he would tell me that their soft breath upon his neck was the most wonderful feeling ever. He was always eager to hold a baby, to cradle a toddler grandchild on his lap, or to sit on the floor with them as they clambered over his shoulders. I can still see him, talking to his sister on the telephone, and rhapsodizing about his grandchildren -- surely none had been as beautiful or accomplished.

This June will mark the 25th anniversary of his crossing over. I still miss him.

Donald James Kraemer
April 4, 1926 - June 5, 1982


Kai said...

What a beautiful testimonial to your dad, Sue! I could see him & feel his spirit so strongly as I read your loving words. He is AROUND you; WITH you!

Rachel Murphree said...

Sue, this is so beautiful. What a talented writer you are, and how blessed you were to have him as your dad. Thanks for sharing him a bit with me.

LilyWhite said...

Happy Birthday, Uncle Don.

He always had a sparkle, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. When he spoke, I listened. He was quiet, so I'd lean in to hear him, because I knew it would be interesting. And it was.

He's with you, and I know he's proud of who you've become.

Jacque Uetz said...

Beautiful Tribute , I could feel the love!

MaryO said...

Your father was a very courageous man and it's no wonder you cherished him so. How wonderful that you keep these memories of him close to your heart.