I Am My Father’s Son

I hope the political junkies and the members of Delaware Right will allow me this small detour from the usual political flavor of this site. Writing is how I work through things.

Some people close to me already know that my father, Frank Knotts, passed away in his sleep sometime in the early hours of Monday morning, I think most would agree, that if we could choose how we go, this was a good way. He was 87 years old. My father had been married to my mother, who is still with us God bless, for 58 years, and had raised myself and my sister who passed away in 2005 from pancreatic cancer.  He had six grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

My father was born in 1926, which means he grew up during the entirety of the Great Depression as one of seven children, him being the third youngest.

He, like his father, worked on farms his entire life. In his life he plowed fields behind mules, he drove tractors with iron wheels, and at the end of his working days, he operated many of the largest and most modern of farm equipment, such as combines and tractors.

His was a tough life, in his younger days he was what was known as a rounder. He made the rounds of the beer taverns and honky tonks. He drank hard and was known to fight a time or two.

My father was not an educated man in the sense of the word, he only went as far as the fifth grade before he had to drop out and work on the farm. I know that many equate intelligence with the number of years someone spends in school. And maybe my father never earned a college degree, but I can tell you he was a success in the yes of his family. This is not to say that we didn’t have some hard times. My father was an alcoholic for the first ten years of my life, and then one day he chose to stop, cold turkey, no programs, no help beyond his own will power. One of my most vivid memories is of my father wrapped in a heavy quilt next to a space heater shivering and being sick as he fought the DTs.

I truly believe that it was this experience that gave me strength when I had to fight my own addiction demons later in life. You see, my father had shown me that it could be done.

I learned many things from this man who had only a fifth grade education. I learned what it meant to work hard, he missed very few days from work, even when he was drinking and hung over, he would get up and go to work, and when he didn’t, it was because he was truly sick.

I learned that you work for the things you want, he never asked for help from family, friends, and certainly not the government. I was told that if I wanted a car I had better find a job and save my money, which I did.

I learned how to forgive from him also, because he forgave me. In my youth I did things that would have caused some parents to run me out of the house. I drank and drugged, and stole and was arrested, one might say I was a rounder too, I caused my parents an unknown amount of grief. And even so, they loved me enough to keep trying to help me.

My father only made it through the fifth grade, and the first time I can remember seeing him cry was when I graduated from high school, I realized how much it meant for him to see his son get further than he did, and in seeing that, I have worked to make it possible for my daughter to go to, and to graduate from college, I only wish that he could have been there to see her march and to know, that in some way, he made that possible as well. But of course he will be there with us for every step.

Yes I learned much from my father, I learned about individual strength, I learned my work ethic, I learned the value of family, I learned forgiveness, I learned that just because we make mistakes in our youth doesn’t mean that we can’t change.

So for all of you who read this, whether you hate me, like me, or love me, you have my father to thank. I got my temper from him, I got my smart aleck sense of humor from him, I got my stubbornness from him, but I also got my honesty from him, my integrity from him, I got my view that you stick to your guns.

I am only sorry that I can’t grant my fathers last wish about how he wanted to go, you see my mother will not allow it. My father had told us not so long ago, that when he went, he wanted to be buried face down, so the whole world could kiss his ass. Sorry dad, mom won’t have it.

I am proud of the life my father lived, and if I am half the man he was, then I am proud to be like him, you see, I am my father’s son.

I will not be allowing comments on this, I appreciate anyone who would give me their well wishes, but I want this to be about my father, not about my loss, I would ask that all who read this to please say a prayer for my mother, it has hit her very hard. God Bless and thank you.



Trackbacks for this post

  1. Sunday Open Thread [11.17.13] : Delaware Liberal