Captured by Pam

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Tag: Dad

Captured: Just Call Me ‘Caesar’

Francis Ware Wright, Jr. (right), better known as Caesar, with his lifelong friend, Bill Hoyer, on the waters of Lake Erie — the place where he once said he felt closest to God.

Francis Ware Wright, Jr. (right), better known as Caesar, with his lifelong friend, Bill Hoyer, on the waters of Lake Erie — the place where he once said he felt closest to God.

His name was Francis Ware Wright Jr., but he was better known as “Caesar.”

He was my dad.

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Captured: Caesar

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Francis Ware Wright, Jr.

My Dad… that was his name at birth… (He’s the one on the right in the photo)

There’s a great story of how my Dad got the name of ‘Caesar’, the name most of his friends and family called him for the greater part of his life. As legend goes, when he and his family moved to Uniontown, PA, his mother told stories of Julius Caesar. He hated the name Francis and so, when he arrived in Uniontown, and when the local kids asked his name, he said…

… Just call me Caesar!

I love that story!

Honestly, the relationship with my dad was far from ideal and it has left me with scars… they say that a child’s wellbeing is determined by their relationship with their father… and it also determines how they view God, as Father. I’ve been hurt. I remember the look of hate in my dad’s eyes as he looked at me. I remember when he’d say that I was ‘nothing but a snotty-nosed brat’… I remember how much he loved my mother and how he would say to me… ‘You’ll never be anything as wonderful as your mother’…

And I remember the 2 things that really stick out in his love for me…

I brought a boyfriend home from college, who had the audacity to  ditch me the first night to go out and party with my brother, leaving me home alone. Dad didn’t like that. The next morning, my dad said… ‘Good morning, _____, When are you leaving?’ Yea, he really didn’t like that this boy left me hanging and he let it be known.

And the other is when I was 29-years-old and he said to me, ‘You are such a beautiful woman, Pam… but, you know… it’s all downhill from here… a woman after 30 is done…’

I can actually laugh at that now….

My dad didn’t have an easy life. His mother died of ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and from what I know… it was awful. His first wife, the momma of my older, half-brothers, died suddenly of a heart attack at a very young age, leaving him to take care of 3 boys…

It destroyed him.

And alcohol was all that could console him. I know little of the years that followed, but I know that life was not easy for my half-brothers and sister, or for me and my little brother, once we came into the family.

It got really messy…

Eventually, he stopped drinking…

But, he was not happy… he hurt… he lost his job… he tried to begin again… and my mom found herself in the workforce for the first time… as a reporter for a newspaper.

It wasn’t easy… we moved from a very large home into a tiny apartment… it’s only natural that a man would react with shame and hurt… lashing out at those closest to him, when he failed in his own eyes… it hurts me to think about how he must have felt… it totally wasn’t his fault. It was just he way things happened…

However, I’ve been affected from this past… it has filtered into many of my own relationships and more importantly, how I view God. I’m working diligently to see God for who He is rather than the ‘paternal’ filter that I have from the experience I have here on Earth… God has been very good in reconciling the dichotomy of my viewpoint.

But, today…. I look at the photo above of my Dad with his best friend, Bill… and my heart just melts.

He was a man who loved his family, he loved fishing (I still wish he could have seen the movie, ‘A River Runs Through It’… he died just before it came out.. it is my favorite short story and movie and it is so reflective of my family!!! He would have loved it!!) …

My dad was a sentimental man.

I remember how he would start piling up the equipment to go up to Lake Erie each summer, where we had a cottage … that was our only vacation, but it was the place I long for, even today… Dad couldn’t wait to get there and we’d hear stories of how he and his BFF, Bill Hoyer, would catch bass after bass. He taught me how to rig a rod, catch a fish… appreciate nature.

And he loved the Ohio State University… he loved everything about OSU and football… he loved Woody Hayes, met Jesse Owens while they were both students in the 1930’s, rarely missed an OSU home game, always carried a buckeye in his pocket… he taught me about loyalty… and a love of sports…

I still love the lulling sound of sports on TV as I fall asleep… my mom worked most nights, but dad always had sports on TV… and the sound of that is very soothing. It may sound weird, but sports commentary is a sort of lullaby for me…

OH MY… I love my Dad! I miss my Dad!

I remember Christmas… he would tear up every time George Bailey would run home at the end of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and he’d realize how much he is loved. Yes, my dad loved all of us so much … but I was blind to that. I just saw him as mean, seeing the man who filtered his own pain into the relationships that mattered most…. but I just thought he was a horrible person…

OH, I was wrong.

I’m so much like my dad… I love what he loved… fishing, sports, family… water.

God.

Dad once said that the reason he loved fishing so much is because it is when he feels closest to God.

Ah man… we had a complicated relationship… yes, he hurt me.

But, I love him… I miss him… He was a GOOD man… he’s no different than you or I…

Today, despite the pain he caused in my life… and my goodness, we all cause pain in each other’s lives …

… especially in family…

I appreciate, love and miss the man who once said…

… ‘Just call me Caesar!’

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