” ‘Seek a higher purpose’ Daddy used to say…”


I haven’t talked about my Dad on my blog much. As a feminist and an avid student (albeit informally) of Women’s Studies, It is the influence of my mother, Miriam, and my sister Betty, that pull the hardest on that family bond. But my Dad was a wonderful man, and I adored him. He died, way too soon, on a hunting trip in 1978 at the age of 64. He influenced me a great deal, as a woman and as a human being. He was a rarity;  an honest businessman. During the years of my childhood (more so than my sisters who are 13, 11 and 8 years older than I, ) my Dad was the County Administrator of Alameda County, California.

True Story:

My Dad drove a County car to and from work,  a distance of about  22 miles but more like 40 minutes of travel time . Mornings that he would be leaving about the time I needed to head to Hayward High, he agreed to drop me off at school. BUT only at the back gate, which necessitated a walk through the tennis courts, all the P.E. playing and exercise fields, and through the entire complex of buildings to get to my locker. (Gee, it was *such* a tough life back then in the 60s!) Dropping me off in front would have put two extra miles on his car that weren’t business miles.  Yup.

When he retired, stories of his kindness, honesty and dedication to family came flowing out, to wash over his proud family and friends. The quote that is the name of this posting is from a Crosby and Nash song, Shining on your Dreams. A perfect description of my father, who believed in living a life that  personified seeking a higher purpose. One of the quotes framed by his desk when he died was – “Luck is that which happens when preparedness meets opportunity.”

His own father died when he was but four, leaving him with a two-year old sister, and a somewhat embittered mother.  The only story I can remember specifically about his very early childhood was being sent home from Kindergarten because he talked so fast the teacher couldn’t understand him! Like many young men in the Midwest in the years before, during and after the Great Depression (the first one!) Sports became his way out. Even with his lettering in football, baseball, basketball and track, he had to take a year off of college to make enough to finish his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, S.D. One regret from his college years? That he couldn’t accept a slot as a back-up player on the 1936 American baseball team. Athletes had to pay their own expenses, and there was no money to spare for that 22-year-old to play ball.

Which leads me to why I was inspired to write this post.  This weekend I watched one of the Bay Bridge baseball games, a traditional three-game match between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s. My father, during his years as County Administrator, was instrumental in bringing the A’s to Oakland and getting the Oakland Coliseum built. He was an avid sports fan, and I wondered, watching a designated runner in that game, what my dad would have said about how sports have become the purview of those who are wealthy, or those who are seeking wealth as players, club owners or agents.  Designated hitters, designated runners, prominent bike racer  Lance Armstrong under investigation as using illegal performance enhancing drugs,  Tiger  Woods possibly letting down his fans and his sport by being unfaithful to his wife,  and the modern list goes on.

These so-called heroes of the sports world definitely do not “seek a higher purpose.” Just like out-of-wedlock babies, racial violence, and fixed sporting events are not a modern curse, nor a modern invention. Yet I think because of modern technology, modern communication, and the increasingly decreasing “size of the world,” we know things almost instantly (Bin Laden’s death comes to mind) so that privacy and secrecy is almost a thing of the past. My Dad never had a problem with dishonesty or illegalities in his business dealings, or his personal ones either, simply because he wasn’t wired that way.

I haven’t done as good of a job as a person, or as a parent, in my humanity, or in my keeping on a gracious path in life. I have been short-sighted, rude, opinionated, made major assumptions about others, and neglected to take care of my relationships. I know that I chose my parents because they both had great lessons to teach me in this life.  So rather than beating myself up too much for my shortcomings, I prefer to see myself as a work in progress. My Daddy was a loving man who wasn’t afraid to cry in front of me. He told me many times that the greatest gift a Father can give his children is to love their Mother. How truly blessed I have been!

Shining on your Dreams lyrics

(Graham Nash and Russ Kunkel)

Daylight coming much to soon
Up all night with the moon in my eyes
Shining down on my dreams
Nothing’s really ever what it seems

Thoughts are coming much too fast
Holding back tears that lasted so long
Falling down on my dreams
Wondering what it really means
When the moon comes shining on your dreams

“Home is where the heart is” mama used to say
No matter where you roam
Feeling so different in each and every way
But I’m finding my way back home

“Seek a higher purpose” daddy used to say
No matter where you roam
Feeling so different in each and every way
But I’m finding my way back home

Clouds are clearing moving on
Come together all as one like family
Open up and believe
That the moon will come shining on your dreams
Yes, the moon will come shining on your dreams

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About ReaderWoman

Professional reader and researcher for writers - Reviewer and Editor for online book review sites - AVID reader (well, duh!) writer, crafter (sewing, jewelry, fiber art) photographer, herb gardener, love to learn new things - Married 3842 years, 2 "kids" (now 34 and 36) and two grands (13 and 15) Born and raised California Girl, with stints in Tennessee, learning to speak Southern, and Arizona, learning that living in a trailer is NOT fun! Enjoy conversations with wine and chocolate, long walks and being with hubby and family. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Personal Ramblings, ~ @ Random ~. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to ” ‘Seek a higher purpose’ Daddy used to say…”

  1. Deb says:

    Your dad sounds like a wonderful person! Sorry I never got to meet him.

  2. tammyparks says:

    “Many times that the greatest gift a Father can give his children is to love their Mother.”
    Beautiful quote!

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