Today is the first Father's Day that I have experienced without my dear Daddio. Oh, not that we would be in the same room, house, town, or even province for all of them. No. But that I cannot phone him and tell him what a swell Daddio he was and is - that is new. Over the past several years that I've been blogging I've done a special Daddio Day blog for him. He always read my blogs and these were like love letters that a shy and modest man could receive without too much anxiety. For he wasn't altogether aware that others knew he 'lurked' about. He didn't care to be aware of it.
I see no reason to not continue this practise. For while he will not enjoy the accolades, I will, nonetheless, continue to feel the pleasure of writing about him and you, my dear readers, will get a glimpse of a man who lived an interesting life in interesting times.
My father, christened Lloyd Calvin Morrison, but known to all from the time he entered the Air Force at 18, as 'Mo', was born in Deloraine, Manitoba in 1924. He was the eighth child of Charlie and Vera Morrison and the fourth son. They had a rollicking good home life from all accounts - my Grandpa Charlie was on the road a fair bit - he was a salesman and an auctioneer among other ventures to keep 8 kids fed during the depression. Vera was a rock - the stable force at the center of a very busy life. Dad loved to tell us stories about life in Deloraine, a small prairie town that his own grandfather had helped settle. Dad engaged in all the activities we might imagine - watching the printing press at work, hanging around his best friend's father's pharmacy, tagging along with his older brothers on various adventures.
When war broke out, his first idea was to join the navy - a not uncommon thought of many land bound prairie lads - but it didn't work out so he became a fly boy. He flew Lancaster's during his part of the war - December 8, 1942, was when he joined up. After the war, for a very short time he tried something else but he quickly realized he was a lifer and came on back. He spent many years flying and training others before he decided to try his hand at a new thing 'public relations'. When he retired, a Major General, he led the public relations department of the armed forces for all of Canada.
He met and married my mother in Winnipeg, Manitoba (the big city!) and they had my brother, myself and my sister in pretty short order.
He was a good Dad - caring and present - and he had his own demons, lest you think he was perfect. He, along with a great number of his cohort from the war years, was an alcoholic. I think that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder but that was something no one knew or talked about back in the day. He never let it interfere with his work and he was never unkind or even embarrassing with it but it was there. With the help of AA and his family, he beat that demon during the last nineteen years of his life and I got to have an even richer relationship with him once he did.
He had a couple of second-chances over his life - one of his best moves was to marry the wonderful Stella, my step-mother. With her he got a spirited and intelligent partner, who brought along as her kit and kaboodle, a wonderful daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren. Dad's last years were spent hanging out like a stage-door johnny as one or both of the grandkids are heavily involved in music and performance. He loved it.
The last time I spent with him was over his birthday last December. We had a great old time (only one fight!) and he opened up to me about his mortality and the feelings it engendered. To my mind, he left this world richer for his presence. His attention to duty, to country, to family and to spirit was impeccable.
Dad often remarked that he was the luckiest guy - lucky in both his marriages, in a career that really meant something to him, and lucky with us. Well back at ya, Dad! We were the lucky ones. I am proud to call myself his daughter and honour him on this Daddio Day.