Dad’s Fingerprint

I’m the third daughter of my Dad, Y.C. Alexander. We had an older brother, “Pete” who passed away at 59 of diabetes. I hate diabetes! We grew up at a time in rural Georgia when intact families were the norm, or almost so. Most of my cousins, i.e. playmates can tell this same truth. Our families all went to church and Sunday School every Sunday, but there was only one Sunday out of the month that we actually had worship service. So we went to Sunday School every Sunday. My mom and dad were both Cooks by profession and so they often worked on Sundays. Yet every Sunday, my dad would leave his job and take us to Sunday school and then pick us back up afterwards or make transportation arrangements for us to ride back home with someone else.

My dad, though he made sure we all had religious education, never really seemed all that educated in religion himself. I know it was our mom and grandmom who insisted that we got to and from Sunday School and my dad cooperated with them on that. I always thought of my dad as the most fun to be around in the family compared to our mom. That was until my mom had to tell him that one of us had misbehaved, at that time he turned into the disciplinarian and was no fun at all. When he punished us, for some reason afterwards, we were not mad at him but we would be mad at our mom for telling him that we had done something wrong!

I remember that my grandma would try to make sure that my dad never used profanity around us or let us see him with a beer in hand. They did a good job of that, I believe. I was a teenager when I realized that my dad pretty much drank almost every day. Up until the day he died, I never saw him falling down drunk, never. He could as they say “hold his liquor.” He was a handsome, disciplined, dark-skinned man, small in stature with a very proud military background. He never forgot his military identification number and he always smiled after he recited it for us during family conversations. My dad had what some would say the natural wisdom of an educated man. He was indeed educated and wise, by experience and he was loved and respected by those in the community. I used to feel that my dad was the one that people called upon when they needed something. He treated everyone well and we all felt the benefit of the love that many had for my dad. He was a proud father. All of us were gifted with the ability to sing and when he and my mom would take us around to different churches to sing, my dad would just beam with pride. Our singing and musical ability came from our mother’s’ side of the family, I believe. We only sang spirituals and usually in church. My dad had one spiritual song that he would sing lead on. It was “He’s Able.” I will always cherish the memories of my dad breaking out in “He’s Able” when we would be singing together at home.

My dad made me and probably all of us feel like we were his favorite child. I know I felt that way. I was the one whom everyone said looked just like my dad. I know I have his smile and his teeth. He carried his teeth with him to his grave and they were still pearly white.

I’m not sure during those times and even today that dad’s got the credit they deserved for having a strong influence on and making their children feel secure and loved. I wonder even if my dad knew how much of his fingerprint he left on me and my sisters and brother. Dad, you were the best dad a little girl could ever have, I still feel your love, thank you and “Happy Father’s Day in Heaven. I love you.

Carrie Colella

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