Saturday, June 17, 2017

My Father, My Best Friend

My father, Frank A Smith II came from Maine. His mother and father met during WWI.

Edith Hamlin had been a nurse with Royal Canadian Medical Expedition.

My grandmother had been trying to make a troopship to France. The gangway was being pulled and a man extended his hand to pull her aboard. That man was my grandfather, Frank A Smith I, who had been serving with the RCMEF since 1915.

Both of them saw the horrors of trench warfare.

Their pacifism hadn't prevented my father from joining the US Army Air Force in 1942.

His war was testing B25s over Kentucky. The casualty rate was 25%, but he surviving to marry my mother, who he had met in Boston. The Irish girl said he wasn't his type, until he said he owned a convertible.

They started having kids.

Four was not enough.

Neither was five.

They stopped at six.

We were a happy family living on the South Shore of Boston. My father worked for the phone company. He was an executive. His two loves were his family and my mother.

'Angie' liked to wear her hair in a bouffant.

Me too.

Sadly in 1996 my mother passed a year after my younger brother Michael.

My father and I took trips. He loved traveling.

To Ballyconeeley in Ireland.

France.

Northern Quebec.

Thailand.

The West.

In 2008 he was diagnosed with Alzheimers.

He forgot us one by one.

I was the last, even though I only saw twice a month.

"Why can you remember me?"

"Because you still like you, whoever you are."

All his friends were gone.

As much as he loved his grandchildren, he was ready to go.

'Angie' and Michael were waiting for him.

I wasn't ready to join them.

My family was waiting for me in Thailand.

And anytime I go there.

So does Poo Frank.

He will live in my heart forever.

For one simply reason.

Poo Frank is my best friend.

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