My Dad – Now Here Is A Man

(Private Photo – © by Pat Ruppel) ~~ My Dad, George “Roy” Collingwood. He went by Roy

Unfortunately, I can only celebrate this Father’s Day with my Dad in spirit. I lost him in March of 1999 and I was just really getting to know him in the golden years of his life after all that time. He was 83 years young and due to turn 84 on his birthday that June 6th – D Day.

Yes, he was a World War II Veteran. He had a service album and showed us pictures from all over the world. Unlike a lot of Veterans, he talked a lot of the war. He had seen his share of the horror but his nature was to look for the good and mostly talked of the places he had seen during his tour.

Dad had grown up on the East coast and loved to swim. He talked of him and a friend swimming across the Delaware River at its narrowest point when they were only 10 or 11. Can you see kids doing that today?

He continued this love for the water throughout his life swimming in quarries, oceans and seas. One of the stories he told us was of a time during his tour of duty when their ship was in port. He often would dive off the side when they came in. This time when they were in a small inlet port he was about to dive off starboard when his buddies yelled at him to hold up.

From the ship, topside, they could see the narrow entrance to the port and a large shadow swimming under the surface of the water. A giant manta ray had appeared to enter the inlet and its wing-like fins stretched out to almost each side of the shore. Needless to say, my father stayed on board.

When he took us swimming in the ocean at my grandparents we’d play around and soon he’d disappear, then all of a sudden his feet would appear. He was doing a hand stand under water.

Then, there was the time in his latter years, 78, when he had gone fishing in a small lake using a friend’s canoe. He had never been in a canoe before and it tipped over when he was out in the middle of the lake. He swam back to shore with the canoe in tow but was more upset from losing his tackle box and prized lures. He said he’d never go out in a canoe again.

There are many stories I could tell of my Father, as you can, as well, reflecting on those special moments. I miss him and know he’s out there in another time and place taking up his rod and reel walking into the sunset – goin’ fishing.

I love you, Dad.

I celebrate and honor all of the Dads out there this weekend to include my husband. Here’s a tribute to you – young and old – new Dads and Grandfathers – Dads with little girls and Dads with young men – Sons, Grandsons and Sons-in-Law – one and all. I wish you happiness and a loving day surrounded by those most dear to you.

My Dad – A Father’s Day Tribute

Pat from the ‘ol kitchen table. Thank You!


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15 thoughts on “My Dad – Now Here Is A Man

  1. Hi Pat,

    What a beautiful tribute to your dad. I, too, have lost my dad, and like you, he’s always with me in spirit. A good dad is a real treasure. I’m so happy to hear that you have wonderful memories of your too.

  2. Barbara – especially during Father’s Day, birthdays and holidays are the times you wish you had one more day to spend with them.

    If we did, what would we say? I know you understand too also no longer having your Dad with you.

    It makes you want to make every moment count now with those that you do have here.

    Love your comments.


  3. Pat that was a lovely tribute to your Dad. He sounds like a bit of a character. I think girls have special memories of their dads. I was overseas when my father died in his sixties. Far too young and unexpected. It is lovely to have great memories.. Cheers Irene

    • Thank you, Irene, for reading. I’m glad you enjoyed it and I’m so sorry to hear you lost your Dad while you were away. He was fairly young at the age of his death, with how we’re living a lot longer these days. There would have been so many more years to enjoy. I lost my mother when she was in her sixties. Way too soon.

      I do have special memories of my Dad. He was handsome. I remember a girlfriend asking me who that ‘hunk’ was and I proudly said my Dad. I miss him. 🙂

      • Pat I know what you mean. I struggled with my Father’s death which was not made any easier by the fact I could not get home quickly due to lack of flights, that I had to go alone as we were embroiled in legal battles on the island we were living and my husband was kidnapped the day after the funeral. All this added up to losing someone I loved dearly and not being able to devote myself to grieving for him at the time. As a result it was many years before I could talk about him without crying which didn’t help my Mum any as she would have loved to have talked and I shut her off. I can now talk but I still can’t go into a church without loads of hankies because as soon as the hymns start I’m a blubbering mess. Same with Christmas Carols.
        I’m glad you have special memories and you had him for such a long time. I’m in reverse. I have my 86 (next month) year old mother still living and although physically challenged now mentally is as bright as a button – still drives and does my accounts for me. 🙂

        • That must have been so hard, Irene. I can empathize with you on being stuck between continents with no time to settle things or find closure and grieve. It stays with you for a long time.

          Oh my dear friend, that must have been truly difficult. At least, now, you still have your Mum, which is a blessing if only in the little things you can both share together. I miss my parents. There’s something lost that can no longer be captured once they’re gone.

  4. I am so glad you told me about this I really enjoyed reading it and don’t know how I would be if I lost my dad although I know it will happen one day just hope it is no time soon.

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  6. Hello Pat,

    I have read your post about your father, and I can understand your feeling, since your dad is no more besides you and since he would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year, a memorable day for the whole family.

    First of all, with all my heart, let me tell you that your dad is really good-looking on the picture, especially his eyes captured my attention 🙂 I appreciate a lot the fact that your dad was someone who always enjoyed each and every little moment of his life at its fullest, even though he has been experiencing the horrors of World War II.

    But the fact that, despite the horrors of the World War II, he has had the opportunity to be enriched by acknowledging new people and new cultures definitely brought a lot of changes and openness within his life, and helped him seeing life in a different way.

    See dear, do you remember I once told you about my grandfather who was an ex World War II veteran too? The way you described me your father looks alike a lot my grandfather’s life, especially his love for mother nature and simple things of life, and most of all his passion for swimming, singing, gardening, long walks in the woods, etc.

    My father, though, when World War II began, was only about 8 years old, since he was born in 1931 and that World War II started with invasion of Paris by Hitler and his troops in 1939. But alike your father, he has had the opportunity knowing different cultures too during his university years, and mostly British, Indian and Irish people for the most of them, and this during 14 years, and he has been travelling a lot around the world during his youth as well: France, UK, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Singapore, Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa, Reunion Island, Madagascar, Thailand…

    So you see, two types of fathers we have known, but it’s mostly my grandfather who had the richest journey since he really knew the true meaning of life after having experienced the horrors of World War II like a lot of Mauritian volunteers who enrolled in it. But for my dad though, things were different since he kept on working hard since university. After he graduated his High School Certificate exam by University of Cambridge after several years of scholarship at the St Esprit College in Mauritius, he obtained a scholarship to study his MBBS in UK, for afterwards obtaining a specialisation as anaesthesist (DARCPS) in Dublin, Ireland. He did a part of his internship too in UK, and has also been living a part of his life, within the framework of his studies, in India. I already related you about how he has been struggling in his life and experiencing new occidental habits he never had in the past, since as a traditional Indian boy, he used to sit on the floor and eat all his meals with his hands on banana leaves, whereas in UK, he was residing in the YMCA and had to learn how to use flatware and cutlery. But most of all, compared to my grandfather who was a free bird and an accomplished man, my father had family pressure over his shoulders. He was the youngest of the family and he was so intelligent that the whole family counted on him to become a doctor, since there were no doctors in the family, whereas my father, instead, wanted to be a scientific researcher but had to bend under the family pressure like most Hindu sons still do nowadays. Two kind of lives, to life philosophers but one unique life journey as you see 🙂

    • Thank you, Uma, and I’m sorry it has taken me awhile to respond. It is nice to share our fathers and grandfathers together — so different coming from different cultures yet alike in many ways. My dad sounded like your grandfather, an adventurer, though after the war when he settled in at home, he didn’t get to explore anymore. Instead, he wandered in the pages of books through the adventures of authors.

      There was the intelligence, like your father, I shared with him on many talks. I miss that and can still feel his presence draw close when I remember. You have much to be proud of having been influenced by such special men in your life. We are blessed and have much to be thankful for, my friend. 🙂

      • Hello Pat, don’t worry for the delay into replying to me dear 🙂 When you tell me about your father who used to wander in the pages of books through the adventures of authors, however here it’s the contrary that my grandfather was. He was a very strict person, and with him, no single mistake was tolerated at home. However, his daughters loved him a lot, especially my young auntie. My grandfather, when he was at home, loved gardening or having a good nap under a tree in the garden.

        However, I will make you laugh a bit: My father has been taking care of a very eccentric man who used to flirt with all the young girls he sees in the streets 😀 And this man was an elderly man whom my father used to nickname, with amusement, “The Corporal who never made war” and that man was mostly known in my birthtown for being a megalomaniac and a smooth talker 🙂 My sister once related me that while she was still working in Port Louis (capital city of Mauritius), one day that man came to office to see one of her colleagues named Nathalie, and when he saw her, he started to sing 😀 my sister was laughing secretly, when suddenly the man stared at her and said, talking about my sister: “She’s, she is jealous!” in such a funny way that everyone laughed to tears 😀 And you know what? My father was like a guardian angel for that man, because each time that man had some trouble, even for the most silly things, he used to disturb my father at his medical cabinet at anytime, either to take his blood pressure or giving him a paracetamol 😀 One day in the newspaper, he even had his picture published with his favorite soft toy, a plush cat he nicknamed Patachon, and he even showed a beautiful picture of Bollywood actress Kajol, whom he even fell in love with for her incredible beauty (when you have an opportunity, google Kajol and you will be amazed with her pictures, even my husband and I cannot resist when we see her on TV)… and when the article was published, the man showed the article to my father and said: “What do you say about this , my dear friend? I am handsome, huh?” My father said yes, but when the man went away my father couldn’t help laughing 😀 Only God really knows about that man’s past, some people find him amusing, some other people find him insane and dangerous… But you know, whatever my father said about him was wrong when he mentioned that man as the “Corporal who never made war”, maybe because he saw in him an eccentric and megalomaniac man and nothing else 🙁 I did some researches about this man and found some interesting stuffs about him. Here is a translation of what I found about this eccentric, but interesting personage my father had the luck to care about while he was still alive:

        “He would have celebrated his 90th birthday in November but he bowed out. Indeed, Louis Espitalier Christmas, also known by the nickname Bouzic, died Friday. He had five children, one already dead. Louis Espitalier Christmas, sporty and confident singer with the Voice of Gold, was a former student of the Royal College of Curepipe and Cours Saint-Louis in Paris. He worked at Air Mauritius and also at Rogers Aviation as Director of Public Relations. He had a predilection for works including among others,? Blood Donors Association ?. He was also the founder of Association of stretchers and Hospital Ladies of Mauritius, it was 50 years ago. Repeatedly recognized for his actions, he was made OSK, OBE. O.ST.J, Commander of Merit, Sovereign Order of Malta, Knight and Officer of the National Order of Merit. He Was a great admirer of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam which he dedicated a special affection, the latter still having it shown much sympathy and Friendships when sometimes painful circumstances. Louis Espitalier Christmas was always sensitive to the cause of the poor. He loathed all forms of discrimination and actions and Had no boundaries. He deeply loved his island, he wanted a true patriot. And he Is a true Mauritian we lost.”

        Another type of hero we lost, and who deserved a lovely homage, because behind his eccentricities, he was a heart of gold and a gentleman.

        • PS: Sorry Pat: His name was Louis Espitalier Noel, not Louis Espitalier Christmas 😀 in fact, I used the translate tool to be able to give you a version in English, since the original article was published in French… And Noel in French means Christmas 😀

        • Interesting story, Uma. No doubt your father crossed many paths of notable and colorful people in his line of work. Looks like it turns out that, in spite of Louis’ humor and shenanigans, he did much good. We can only hope for the same when we leave this earth. Thank you for sharing and Kajol looks to be very beautiful. 🙂

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