Here’s to ya, Dad

Photo taken by contributor Jim, a man from the SouthWest of Texas who has struggled with depression for much of his life.

About this photo: “I started Memorial Day by watching the movie “Honor Flight”.  You can rent it via I tunes, grab a couple of hankies and watch it. A touching documentary about a bunch of WWII vets being taken to Washington DC to visit the memorial made in their honor. My sinuses and throat are still tender from both the tears I shed and the ones I held back. It was such a tribute to what is appropriately called the “worlds best generation.” Of boys that traded Keds for combat boots. They collectively left for far away unknown places to face untold atrocities and to come back men that just as quickly traded the boots for wingtips and went to work. Memories were put in a box along with medals and a lot of stories.

My dad was part of that war. It is not that I don’t have lots of physical and mental memories of my dad, but I miss his smell. I so vividly remember the Valentines morning that cancer took him from me. When the funeral guys came to pick up his body, they could not fit the gurney through the narrow hallway. While they were busy pondering how to get the contraption to him, I picked him up and carried him to the gurney. It was probably the first time that I followed his generation tradition of just simply getting things done. I went back to his bed and burrowed my face in his pillow and savored the smell of him.

Dad told me stories of the war, but they were always of fun and manly camaraderie, little of true blood and guts war stories. He was a Navy combat photographer and had lots memories recorded on film and etched in his brain. He shared only the good stuff and carried the rest of the burden as they all did. Dad told me of surviving three PBY airplane crashes in the Pacific. How he once floated with other crew members in the open sea for two and a half days. Never once suffering as much as a scratch until he cut his arm climbing into the rescue craft. He laughed that he “didn’t even get a purple heart for that one”.  Other memories carried him to some dark places and he collected more wounds later in life from an unbroken brown bottle trying to forget the war.

As a child, the neighborhood boys all played “war”. We talked about how many “Japs” (sic & apologies) our fathers had killed. Unlike our father’s generation, us “baby boomers” talked and we all knew each others stories. So all my friends knew my dad was a photographer and that he probably didn’t kill anyone. That really never made him any smaller to me. One day rousting through one of his boxes of memorabilia, I found a photo of him posed without a shirt. He had a mustache over his lips and a Lucky Strike between them. More importantly to me, he was wearing a 45 automatic pistol holstered under his arm. I felt much like Jem must have felt when Atticus shot the rabid dog in “To Kill a Mockingbird”. There was a big part of my dad that I never knew.

I have the razor with which I gave my dad his last shave, I have photos, knifes, tools, cameras, and lots of stuff, but I sure miss his smell. I also miss that ironically, with two photographers in the house  I have not one photo of us together. Here’s to ya Dad, happy Memorial Day.  Thanks for both the freedom and the silence.”


Love and respect to all who serve and have served. Broken Light is here for all, including our military brothers and sisters, and their family and friends. Today and every day.

**Visit Broken Light’s main gallery here. Currently accepting submissions.

*Like us on Facebook & Twitter. Follow below for e-mail notifications.

17 thoughts on “Here’s to ya, Dad

Add yours

      1. My pleasure! 🙂 Pardon my ignorance – what does ††† en theos jim mean?


      2. Monika….Literally ‘En theos’ is the English language equivalent of the Greek words which mean ‘in God.’

        Furthermore, the word Enthusiasm, arrives from the greek word enthusia, which by turn arrives from the word En theos. so when we say that we feel enthusiasm, it means that at that moment we feel like we have God inside us.

        peace @ u……..jim


  1. Your photo and your essay made me weepy. My Dad was a Korean War vet. He never talked about what he saw either. He struggled with Depression and I am sure he had some PTSD issues. he just pushed it down and got up and went to work everyday. I miss my Dad’s voice and his smell too. He smelled like Old Spice after shave and sunshine. Thank you! Reblogging.


  2. OMG……..I totally forgot about the Old Spice. I am much like my dad and like him I have the luxury of working for myself and I don’t have to shave everyday. But when he did shave, he would drench himself in that stuff. I think he did it just to piss us all off! We didn’t help matters as while we all complained how obnoxious he was for assaulting up our olfactory senses. We were partly to blame as it was our go to gift, those Old Spice special Christmas kits. I can’t go by a bottle in the drugstore that I don’t stop and take a nose memory……..thanx for the reminder and God bless your father for his service…..en theos……jim


  3. Thanks, Jim. They say the olafactory senses are the strongest at triggering memories. I know it is that way for me. Dad also used Aqua Velva and a lot of Sea and Ski sun tan lotion, when he was doing yard work or we were boating with famiy friends. Those also had the same effect on me as the Old Spice. Funny, how one thing can make you feel like a kid again…


  4. Amazing collage work as someone posted but more amazing and precious the story behind it. Being ex military, I know and I´m only 30. Good that you put this out and honour you father, and the rest should also be honoured.


Please Join the Conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: