MY FATHER

It is Father’s Day today and as always I think of my dad on this day! I was only thirty-six when he died. My dad died when he was sixty-five, relatively young yet. I’m sixty-two years old now and to think in three years I will be the age my dad was when he died. It has been twenty-seven years since he left us. I was present when he had his heart attack at his desk at work. It was the worst day of my life.

The images of that day are still ingrained in my mind clearly. I don’t know why this is, but when I think of my dad I think of the day he died and left us. When I think of him I should be thinking immediately about what a terrific father he was, but instead my mind takes me to that terrible day, Oct 12th, 1993.

Carrell Raymo

So today, I choose to think about the dad that loved and cared deeply for his family and friends. His name was Carrell. He provided for his family. Dad started a business with his two brothers in law in 1960. He was very proud of the success of the foundry that they built together. We produced manhole covers, you see in the streets all over the country. I worked in the family business for some thirty years.  I saw my dad every day at work. So our relationship was close. We spent a lot of time together.

My earliest memory of my dad is kind of weird, I maybe was 4 or 5 years old. My dad was a smoker and he would lay in his bed smoking and I would lay next to him watching the red glow of his cigarette in the darkness. Liking the smell of the cigarette and waiting for the red glow of the cigarette to appear when he took a puff. I told you it was weird! That was in the early 1960’s when it seemed like everyone smoked. I never have had the desire to smoke cigarettes and I’m thankful for that.

My favorite memory of my dad was the day we were at the cabin on Big Stone Lake in Ortonville. Dad was driving the boat and I was learning to water ski. I was in my early twenties. To make a long story short, I fell in the middle of the lake and could not get back up. After trying and trying I gave up. Meanwhile the ski rope got tangled in the propeller and we had a big mess. I was exhausted and here I was floating in the lake. Dad thought he would slide off the back of the boat to help me get the rope untangled from the propeller. I don’t know what he was thinking, but when he slid off the back of the boat he disappeared under water and never came back up to the surface. He wasn’t wearing a life jacket.  I desperately tried to reach for him under the water and finally grabbed his arm pulling him to the surface. He almost drowned.

Now both of us big guys are in the water, and we have no ladder to get back into the boat! We are stranded in the water, in the middle of the lake! My brother Greg saw we were in trouble and took an inner tube and swam out to us. He was able to pull himself into the boat. We got the ski rope untangled and my brother towed dad and me behind the boat to the shore. We were like beached whales, completely exhausted! While lying on the beach we had mom, my wife, Roxie and my grandmother hovering over us yelling at the top of their lungs at both of us for being so stupid! Dad and I laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe, we would look at each other laying on the beach and laugh harder.

That is my funniest and best memory I have of my dad. We told that story so many times over the years and each time crying with laughter.  I have many good memories of my dad. I loved him very much. He was a great father to all of us. I rarely saw him get angry, he was always kind to everyone, wanting to help anybody that had a need. Happy Father’s Day Dad! Love you!

Tony Ourada - State Farm ad