Saturday, June 14, 2014

THE MAN WITH NO MIDDLE NAME!


My Dad, Clarence Reeck, born in 1918, started and ended life with no middle name. He guessed that his parents had run out of names because they'd already produced nine other kids. Who was he, really?

A true believer. Dad had a fervent faith. He shared it in lay addresses to people in the Tacoma Rescue Mission, in Sunday School lessons at church, and in the teaching he did through Tacoma church associations. Rev. Dr. Kempton Hewitt, who knew Dad well, said, "He was more religious than most preachers."

But, an open-minded true believer. Dad's favorite religious book was written by a Catholic monk. His favorite piece of literature was Old Man and the Sea. While he seemed to believe in the literal seven day creation, he also thought and spoke in evolutionary terms when talking about animal species and the age of the earth's mountains, canyons and seas.

A supportive father. Dad sometimes said "No, you can't" to me. Normally, he said, "Yes, do it" when I asked. I marvel at the freedom I enjoyed to roam Puget Sound and surrounding hills and mountains. When I moved as a young adult to find my own way in the religious world of my times, he was supportive, even when that meant going to the "ultra-liberal" Boston University Graduate School to specialize in social ethics and sociology of religion.

A sufferer of Alzheimer's. Dad gradually lost his mental capacity from age sixty onward over  two subsequent decades. The process of decline was painful to behold, but it had its moments. After he died, my mom gave me Dad's wedding ring as a keepsake. Upon examining it years later, the inscription showed that it belonged to another man, presumably one in the retirement center. I wondered who wore Dad's ring.

I couldn't have asked for a better dad, and give him credit here and in Growing Green Two Ways! for helping me to find my own values and views of life. Thanks for reading.

How did your dad help you? Please comment.

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