Thursday, June 24, 2010

Walking Home - to Dad from Vermont - Tribute to my father

When I was young, I heard stories of walking miles to school and only after doing chores in the garden or around the house. I only had to walk less than one mile to get to school and my chores were minimal mainly consisting of keeping my room clean. In the middle of my career and raising a family, I walked a little more than one mile to catch a bus, which carried me another five miles to work. We did have a car- just not two cars. This lasted only a few years before we bought a second car.

I knew a man who drove his last car when his youngest son was born and did not drive or own a car for eighteen years. This man walked to work every day throughout the year, Monday through Friday and sometimes on Saturday. He walked in the rain, in the sun, in the snow and the hail, and he walked in the mud. He walked past freshly painted houses, and again as the paint dried, and walked by as the weather bleached and faded the paint, and he continued to walk past the houses as the paint slowly peeled from their sides as the days moved by. He walked to the grocery store and carried home the groceries in his Hercules like arms. He walked wherever and whenever he was needed anywhere away from home.

If his family needed to go somewhere, they took the bus or in a few precious exceptions dipped into the grocery fund to pay for a cab ride. When his children wanted to go to the beach or to visit a friend they found no sympathy when they complained of the distance and time required. Any belly aching only brought back the stories of walking miles to school and the chores both before and after school.

Following this man from work to home was not walking, at least not by a child’s standard. Years of walking with purpose, with steadfast pace, had toned the man-racehorse for one pace and one pace only-F-A-S-T.

When one of his children met him at work, their adrenalin would flow while waiting for the shop whistle to blow. The whistle not only signified the end of the workday but also the beginning of the race home, the race to keep up with daddy. Sometimes he would carry them with one hand holding them up in the air, as little legs would run in the wind without touching ground. Those big strong hands and muscle bound arms would twirl us around as he walked his stride unabated.

In his last days when the hospice people remarked how surprised they were that his heart was so strong, I remembered how he walked, and walked and walked for each of us, my brothers and sisters and my mom. Yes, he had a strong heart from years of walking. He walked for years because he had such a good, caring, and responsible heart.

I hope all dads find a way to demonstrate responsibility to their family and to their communities as an example to the next generation. Picking up a piece (of litter) every day is one way to leave footprints driven by a caring heart. Happy Fathers day dad-may the streets where you now walk always be green and clean.

                EDMOND H. PAQUETTE 1929-2009 ESCONDIDO, Calif. - Edmond, son of Arsene and Rose Alma (Barsalou) Paquette, was born in Swanton and lived in Winooski, Vt. until moving to California in 1974. He was in the U.S. Army serving in Korea. Edmond worked for 21 years at 'Vermont Furniture' in Winooski. He then worked for 'Crower Cams' in California for 17 years. He is survived by May, his beloved wife of 54 years; his sisters, Lucille Rabidoux and Sally Senesac; his daughters, Denise (Darrell) Desautels and Theresa (Rod) Borges; his sons, Bernard (Barbara), Michael (Christy) and Mark (Amanda); his grandchildren, Terry, Tracy, Matthew, and Jonathan Paquette, Jason and Nick Borges, Jason and Sarah Desautels; and great- grandsons Gavin Paquette, and Trey Desautels.

Published in The Burlington Free Press on August 27, 2009

Other personal stories and folktale postings:

Ø   Intensive Care(3 mos. Preemie) Thanksgiving: