The Words Won’t Come, Either.

I am trying to write my father’s obituary, and I just can’t do it. I’m a writer, I should be able to do this sort of thing. I know more about my father than anyone else still living does, but I can’t seem to formulate it into something cohesive that doesn’t sound…wrong. I guess that’s probably because the phrase, “John Evans Holmes Jr. died,” sounds so wrong to me that I can’t go any further than that.

Also, I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that my father did, made, and accomplished. He was a welder, a truck driver, a boat builder, a carpenter, a woodworker, a mechanic, a fisherman, a master at the art of fried chicken, and a dedicated and self-sacrificing (though impatient) father. He built a tug boat, several barges, a pump-out boat, hot rods, a race car, his mother’s house, his own workshop. He helped to restore the Flying Horses Carousel, and took care of its machinery for years. He built sign hangers and railings and decorative iron work for the rich and famous. He restored a 1953 GMC semi truck, and it sits in his garage in near-mint condition. He worked 16 hours a day throughout my childhood and still managed to singlehandedly raise a daughter who’s a pretty decent human being.

He was a collector of information, a sponge in which chunks of American history were absorbed. He was fascinated by the transportation industry–boats, trucks, trains–and traveled around the country to see the important sites in its history.

He was an impeccable craftsman, able to achieve the same precision in a 10-inch model as he could in a multi-ton barge.

He was a great storyteller, a willing ear, and a loyal and caring friend. He was a more loving father than any child could ever hope for. He had a great sense of humor, and kind, dancing blue eyes, and he gave the best hugs in the world. He was my protector, my hero, my champion, and one of my best friends, and I miss him more than words can ever express.

And I can’t find the words to tell the world that he’s gone–I don’t think any amount of words will ever be enough. I am heartbroken, gutted, and speechless.

~ by saltgirlspeaks on 27 November, 2007.

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