I am a Daddy’s girl; always have been.
That’s because I got lucky; the Universe paired me with Ehret Oscar Ramey to be my counselor, teacher, mentor, protector and friend. Ehret Ramey was my adopted Father.
As a child he had curly hair, and his lower income family moved a lot which made him vulnerable to teasing and bullying. He learned to fight at an early age, which knowing him as I do, must have been hard because his inherent nature was so gentle. I suppose those fights helped define who he was and who he wasn’t because as my Father, he never chose a fight, but also never stepped away from defending what he believed was right.
And what he thought was right for me, usually was.
I wasn’t exactly easy kid, and being the only daughter, I know he worried and was disappointed by a lot of my choices. But he never judged me or ignored me or made me feel less than or ashamed; he was always there when I finally came home with whatever I needed; a kiss to my forehead, a long hard embrace, words of love, or, no words at all.
My Dad was my champion and I always, always knew that. That changes a person.
I liked to run away when I was a kid to assert my Autonomy and Independence. One time I “ran away” to a Young Life Skating Party. When my Dad picked me up and discovered his 12-year-old was drunk, he took me to the hospital where he worked, cleaned me up in the Doctors lounge, and bought me a toothbrush. He said I’d better brush my teeth, stay away from alcohol and not to inform my Mother of my escapades. There were a few things we agreed not to tell Mom.
My parents were married for over 60 years, something I both admire and am still amazed by. My Father chose a difficult woman to love and I often wondered how in the world he could not only love her, but completely adore her.
I thought my Mother was insane but he was unconcerned, and in retrospect, his example of loving another human has provided something like a wellspring for me: a spring that I dip in when I am feeling particularly empty myself.
My Dad was handsome. My Dad was accomplished. My Dad was a man of service and his word. My Dad was a teacher, a physician, a friend, and caretaker to all. He loved to sing and dance and tell horrible jokes,
(and I mean B A D jokes). But he would get so tickled telling his own stupid jokes that you finally had to give in and laugh along with him, dreading the punch line all the same.
He also liked to make things in his wood shop when he retired, when he was still able to, before he had his stroke.
After the stroke, it was my turn to give back to my Father and I am here to tell you it was my great pleasure. It wasn’t always easy, (I used to call him Dr Magoo when I was at the end of my rope); loving him so, it could also be heart breaking.
Once when I took him to the movies, we were ordering a coke and he couldn’t get the words out, grasping the Coca Cola display cup with a death grip and just mumbling to me. I knew what he was trying to say and gently tried to pry the cup out of his hands as the fountain jerk (and I do mean jerk), just stared at us. I wanted to tell everyone, “You don’t know this man- you don’t know how brilliant and kind and loving he is! How many lives he’s touched- how many lives he brought into this world…” but instead we went in and sat down and watched the movie which made my Dad laugh a lot, and that made me feel better, too.
As I said, my Dad was a gentle soul and as a parent always treated us kids with respect even when we were clearly over the line. I can only remember two instances when my Dad lost it and both times it was because me or my older brother said something disrespectful to our Mother.
The slap I’d never seen coming stung much more than my face; the lowest place I could ever inhabit was the one called disappointing my Father. I burst into tears as he pulled me to him. That only made it worse. You can see, I still remember.
So, today on Father’s Day, I celebrate my Father, E.O. Ramey, and all the other wonderful Fathers that I know.
What a blessing to be a Daddy’s girl, because that means you were taught how to be loved deeply and completely by a wonderful, caring man.
Thank you, Dad. I miss you. I sure do.