In the last few months of my father’s life, I realized that if I wanted to complain to him about unkind things he had said, foolish things he had gone, and omissions he had made in his almost seventy years of fathering of me, I would have to speak up and tell him while he was still on this earth to hear my complaints. But I forbore to do so, feeling that it would not make me happy and it would certainly make him unhappy. My father had already taken steps to correct what he could of his past errors, and he had already apologized to me in a general way, several times. That is the best a man can do at the end of his life. So instead, each day when I visited him I would tell him something wonderful that I remembered about him. One story from his life that very much impressed me happened about the time I was eight or nine years old, and he was a hero.
It was a weekend afternoon and the entire family was home, when a frantic pounding on the door brought my father running to answer it. A young neighbor lady who lived just one house down from our house had woken from a nap to find her entire house on fire. My mother immediately called the fire department. The woman cried to my father that she had been unable to save anything but her two small children from the fire, they were being watched by another neighbor. My father quickly asked if her garage door was unlocked, she said yes. He asked if she had the keys to her car, she said no. He asked if her car was unlocked, she said yes. My mother said, “No, Peter, no. It is too dangerous.” My father grabbed a towel to protect his hands and ran to the neighbor’s house. He wrapped the towel around the garage door handle, swung up the door, and ran into the thick, black smoke. Moments later he emerged from the smoke and flames, pushing her car out of the garage. When our neighbor saw that she would have transportation to help her deal with the consequences of the fire, she thanked and thanked him. My father was a hero! When I told him this story of his life, he modestly said, “Uff da, I had forgotten about that.” His eyes gleamed with pride and pleasure to be appreciated.
Caption: My father was a hero
who saved a neighbor lady’s car from a house fire.
framed by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018