Friday, December 03, 2004

A Tribute to My Dad - with the Lord 12/2/04

My Dad went to be with the Lord, Thur., Dec. 2. He had a massive heart attack in his kitchen and went home quickly. My Mom had been home from the hospital for about 3 hours, my brother and sister were there at the time. Please pray for my Mom. She is in a tender state.

Below is a tribute I wrote for my Dad a Father's Day or two back

"Of Boys, Bikes and Dads"
Kerry S. Doyal

Boys riding bikes. To me, that is one powerful memory and image of
summer. Exploring, racing, being showoffs and daredevils. Taking a few
hard earned or luckily found cents to the store for candy. Quick getaways
from foes, real or imagined. Getting me to and away from trouble.

Bikes meant exposure to a bigger world. They transported me from the
circle - Keystone Court - I grew up on, to new worlds, vistas and
experiences. They took me down the street, into town and across the
tracks. Bikes carried me to friend's homes, baseball games, the library,
bank, post office, Red's produce stand and "the woods."

Bikes were my horse, my motorcycle, my racecar, space ship and friend.
It knew my moves and I knew its every squeak, its potentials and limits.
It lifted me skyward off of ramps. It sent me scrapping, sprawling into
gravel, dirt and pavement.

My father worked for the Phone Company, first as an installer, then a
PBX repairer, then a manager, finally a safety instructor. He retired
from "Ma Bell", and she and he paid for my upkeep coming up.

My brothers and I, in our journeys on bikes, would often come across men
in phone trucks, making repairs, fixing a line, climbing a pole, riding a
cherry picker. What started as a "hey, do you know my dad?" became an

Seeing these hard hat wearing, hard working skilled men would cause us
to pull up to their work site on our bikes and ask if they knew Ronald
Doyal. It always struck me odd to call my dad by his name. No doubt we
asked more than one man "do you know my dad?", requiring them to ask
"what's his name?".

A few men came to recognize us. "Aren't you Ron Doyal's boys?" they
would ask as we stopped to watch, getting a glimpse into our dad's world.
It was a question I was always exceedingly proud to hear and even prouder
to answer.

The thing that made us habitually stop and ask our question was the
answer we would often hear from the men we asked. Their response was
frequently far more than we had asked, but no boy or girl could have
asked for more. I can still hear and feel their reply. "Yes. I know your
dad. He's a good man."

With no effort, I can recall how much taller I rode in my bike's saddle
after hearing those replies. These men not only knew my dad - validating
this work site's solemnity due to its connection to my dad - these men
respected my dad. He was a good man. Yes, they did indeed know my dad.

It took just a couple of interactions like that to lead us to almost
look for phone men when we were off on our bikes. If we saw them, you
could be sure we would stop and ask "the question." More often than
they knew our dad and would add "he's a good man."

Sometimes, while biking with friends, I would stop to ask The Men if
they knew my dad so my friends could hear the answer. Though it was not
quite the "my dad can beat up you dad" scenario, I was bragging none
less. I could trust that if those phone men knew my dad, they would speak
well of him.

I had no idea how enviable that was for so many little boys and girls.
For me it was a solid given, something I took for granted - for better
and, I am sure, for worse.

I was and am proud to be my dad's son. Period. No disclaimers. No
qualifiers. I am Ronald Doyal's youngest son, and would have it no other
way. Nor would my brothers or my sister. Just as my wife rightfully feels
about her dad - another very fine man.

If you feel that way about your dad, make sure you tell him. If you
can't find your own words, give him this column. He will get it. Whatever
you do, however you do it, let him know.

A final thought about those bikes. It was my dad's hard work that
provided them for my two older brothers', our baby sister and me. His
sweat gave us the means to discover who he was, to see how others saw
him. That was not the intent of the gift, but it was the precious impact
none the less.

It occurs to me that the same thing will happen in my efforts to raise
my girl and four boys. For better or for worse, I pave the way - better
yet - provide the wheels by which they will encounter me in this world. I
can only hope and pray and try to make sure the kind of report my kids
get about me is nearly as good as the one I was blessed to peddle up to
about my dad.

Thanks for a good name, Dad. I honor you.

"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the
land the LORD your God is giving you." Exodus 20:12

"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is
better than silver or gold." Proverbs 22:1 (NIV)

1 comment:

Rich said...

We love you guys...