Yep... this handsome sailor, circa 1956... is my wonderful Dad.
Here is wearing the traditional "duck" hat [you'll recognize it from the Donald Duck cartoons!]. And his winter blues.
Dad joined the military when he was 17 and retired after 22 years in 1976. He would have served even longer, but had to retire due to injury.
I am especially proud of my Dad's time in the Navy, although it did mean not having him around during my growing up years! He was always away at sea.
Mama kept his portrait in nearly every room of our home, and each evening we would gather and pray for Daddy and the other men on his ship.
When his ship came home, it was like fair time! The families would all gather on the pier, dressed in their Sunday best, and we'd wait, sometimes for hours, as the ship was slowly pulled into harbor by tugboats.
The sailors would all be dressed in the dress uniforms, lined up at parade rest around the edges of the deck of the ship. We would all try to pick out our own Daddy from other's Daddy's! Sometimes we would say we found him, but you could never be sure!!!
Then after the ship was moored, the boatswains whistle would shrill through the air as the men were released to go ashore. Everyone would crowd near the gangway and wait for the men to depart the ship. We were always right there to welcome Daddy back home! He'd grab one or the other of us in his arms, kiss Mommy, and we'd head for our car.
I was always so proud to be holding onto my Daddy's hand! I remember in Kindergarten passing a classmate on the pier and saying "That's my Daddy!" [I always recall that whenever I see the old Shirley Temple movie... "Little Princess". Remember her holding her Daddy's hand and saluting Queen Victoria she whispers in a stage whisper, "That's my Daddy!" Yep... I definitely connect!]
Dad's always been my hero.
He always will be.