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Fathers Without Sons

June 19, 2017

Yesterday was Father’s day. As you might imagine, Father’s Day at my house was full of cards and pies, presents and people. I am blessed to have my children and my grandchildren close. I spent some time thinking about my father. He’s been gone for many years. He passed on June 12. It always falls close to Father’s Day and makes me think of the two.

Father’s Day is typically about just that: fathers. And sons and daughters. Daughters are a delight. They are wonderful. On Father’s Day, we often look to sons. The picture above is my great-grandfather, Tandy Blair, his wife and children, including my grandmother Vera and her brother Earl.

I didn’t know Uncle Earl well. He was old when I was very young. He was a WWII veteran. He came from a small town in Eastern Washington. Generations of my family are buried in the tiny town of Tekoa, WA. Gravestones in the cemetery bearing the names of my kin go back over a hundred years.

Uncle Earl is buried there. His funeral is one of my earliest memories. I remember the red, white and blue carnations on his casket. I remember the buglar, a mere silhouette, standing on the crest of the hill, the mournful sound of Taps echoing through the graveyard.

I’ve often thought of Uncle Earl over the years. He died alone in his house in Tekoa. Alone in his chair. It was a week before his sisters went to check on him.

Uncle Earl never married. The name of Blair in my family history died with him. Of course, there’s nothing special about the male line vs the female line. Western society tradition has women take on the name of their husbands. Boys take the names of their fathers. In such a society, there’s something sad about a father with no sons, worse a father with no children.

As we honored our fathers yesterday, I spent some time honoring my ancestors who never got the chance to be fathers.

Happy Father’s Day, Uncle Earl and the rest of the fathers without sons.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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