, Research Paper
He Was “The Greatest Man I Never Knew”
Country music singer, Reba McIntire, recorded a song called “The Greatest Man I Never Knew.” In the song, she speaks of how she never really knew her father. It exemplifies the way I feel about my own father. Everyone has a person who has made a deep impact on his or her life. For me, it was my father Donald Alexander. He was a great man with a wonderful sense of humor. He was the reason I wanted to become an attorney. He said I never lost an argument. I feel tormented that I was unable to know what a great person he really was.
In my home, mother was the disciplinarian. Daddy never said much to me unless I had done something bad, and then most of the time, he would just tell my mother. I could probably count on both hands the number of times he told me that he loved me. I guess he assumed I knew. He was a quiet man who did not like to talk about his feelings. I always took what few things Daddy said to heart because, to me, he was extremely intelligent and knew everything.
As the only girl in the family, the only child my mother and daddy had together, I was in every sense of the word spoiled. Daddy saw to it that I had anything I wanted from baton to piano lessons. I had every Barbie ever made. I even had Barbie’s corvette and the dream house. He enjoyed giving me things he thought made me happy. However, I would have rather had more time with him.
Before I started school, he and I would enjoy each other’s company as he ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich. He would stop by our house at lunchtime and would sometimes let me go along to deliver the mail. I loved going with him because it made me feel very important and needed. My dad would hand me stacks of letters to put into the mailboxes as we went along the route. I would even skip school some days to go with him.
As I grew older, I saw my dad less frequently. Our luncheons were suspended by my having to go to school and my wanting to spend time with my friends. Subsequently, my father retired from the postal service and received his real estate license. My parents began talking about moving to Mississippi in 1986. I could tell by his facial expression that he did not want to move, but he loved my mother and wanted to make her happy. Daddy didn’t complain about moving, although I know he never wanted to move to away. He lived in the small town of Carthage, Tennessee all of his life and I know it was very difficult for him to leave.
At age18, I became pregnant with my son Kristopher and decided not to tell either of my parents. I feared the worst and hoped for the best. The night my parents confronted me about the pregnancy still stands out in my mind. It was only the second time I can remember seeing my dad cry. (The first time was in 1987 when his mother died.) I felt as if I had stabbed him in the heart. He was infuriated but never said a harsh word about it. All I received from him was support, ideas of what to name the baby and coaching tips on how to teach the baby to play baseball.
I never realized until lately what sacrifices my father made for me. I took the material things for granted, not comprehending the financial burden they put on my father.
Unbeknownst to me, he would lay awake at night wondering how he would pay for things. He never wanted me to know how difficult things were financially. I can remember my dad having two jobs when I was in high school, but I never realized he was working so hard so that I could have expensive things. We never became very close because his work kept him away from home.
The most devastating time of my life was the day he passed away. It was as if I had lost a part of my soul I could never recover. If I could turn back the hands of time, I would tell him how much he mean to me and about the impact he had on the way I raise my children. I will always treasure the few memories I have of him and the good times we shared. I find out new things about my father almost daily, and I regret I didn’t know before he died what a great person he was. Although I never really knew him, in my heart, he was the greatest man.