Monday, November 19, 2007

Every dewy morning

Please forgive me if the blog doesn't get much attention this week. My dad died, and I'll be gone for the memorial service and Thanksgiving. I apologize for my sappy emotion, but I just need to do write this.

Dick Casady was raised on the wrong side of the tracks in Keokuk, Iowa. He returned to Keokuk after a successful career in business that took him all over the midwest, and died there two days after his 78th birthday. His own Dad died at a young age, and his mom remarried. My grandparents were about as working class as they come: Grandpa Evans--Dad's stepfather--was a foreman at Gate City Steel down on the Mississippi river, and although they lived a pretty humble life, my grandparents sent three boys off to college and started them all on successful careers.

Dad was an excellent athlete. He lettered in football, basketball, baseball, and track for the Keokuk Chiefs, and at Parsons College. Although golf had no history in the Casady family, it was a virtual requirement for a sales manager with clients to entertain, so Dad took the game up as a young man. He quickly became an outstanding golfer. He was a big hitter, and deadly with a pitching wedge. Many of my best memories are golfing with my father.

I learned many things on the golf course, a sport where fair play is so integral to the game that the contestants call the penalties on themselves. Dad taught me the rules and the etiquette. I learned the terminology of toe hooks, power fades, sandies, presses, and double bubbles; the lettuce, the cabbage, the heather, the gorse, the OB, the beach, and the frog's hair. I didn’t quite inherit my Dad’s skill, but on those rare occasions I hit it in the screws, knock it stiff, and jar the putt, I know how to describe the experience.

But the most important lessons I learned from Dad weren’t on the course. I remember a great example of this 30 years ago. Dad was changing his shoes in the locker room. There was an employee in the men's locker whose sole job was to take care of the members' shoes. Dad knew him by name, and talked to him about his wife and kids. He laughed with him about some joke, and basically just treated him precisely the same way he'd treat the president of the club or his best customer. That's the way Dad always was with caddies, waitresses, parking attendants, car hops, bell hops, cashiers, bag boys, and junior assistant pros. It made no difference what your station in life was; he treated everyone like a good friend.

In the summer of 1964, our family endured an unimaginable tragedy. Dad became a single father at the age of 33, burying one child, caring for three that survived. He bore this pain with strength and grace. My Dad's love and his quiet power both saved and molded me. There can be no better testament to his life than this: his children all know he was the best man they every met.

The last time I golfed with Dad was over the Memorial Day weekend. Son T.J., Brother Rich, Dad and I played at Holmes Park on Saturday. We were talking about having another go at it, but we are all aware of our obligations on the home front. How could we manage to get in another round on Sunday without neglecting our family duties? It was Dad who suggested that we all just tell our wives that "You won't have your old Dad around to play golf with forever."

He was wrong.

He’ll be there in the places I go: in the rough and the hazard, and then finally on the dance floor, with his hickory shafted putter. Every dewy morning I tee it up, he'll be there.

14 comments:

JoeMerchant24 said...

Chief;

My condolences and best wishes. I lost my father when I was 11, so cherish the time you had and pass along the wisdom he gave you.

JM24

Anonymous said...

Dads are special when they take the time to know the child. Some dont even get to know the child.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your loss, and thank you for sharing a wonderful story. Definitely helps to make us all aware of what we should be thankful for.
-Erik

Anonymous said...

Chief Casady:

I would like to offer my condolences and sympathy to you and your family during this time of loss.

By reading today's blog, we can see the fine traits and qualities that the father passed on to the son. These are the characteristics that have made you such a great police chief.

Thank you for looking out for all of us, Chief.

jenn said...

I am so sorry. You are right about your father still being there. I am happy you will get some comfort knowing that. My thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

My condolences also. My Dad is 84 and has terminal lung cancer. We weren't close, and have only reconciled during these past few months.

You are so fortunate to have the memories you do of times with your Dad. Death is a painful thing for those of us who are left behind, but good memories are what help sustain us.

Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Tom - I'm so sorry for your loss - my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.....Patty Chase

Anonymous said...

Chief,
You and your family are in my prayers. Your dad seemed like a great man.

Tom Casady said...

Thank you all very much for the good words, I really appreciate it. I think this would have made Dad pretty happy!

Anonymous said...

chief - i saw the obituary in the ljs. for you and yours, my deepest sympathy, thoughts and prayers.

as for your dad, i have but two words: class act.

Anonymous said...

Chief:
I am very sorry for your loss. I lost my father about this time last year. I can tell your father was a great man because he raised a fine son and man of integrity. This is the highest compliment we can pay our parents -- make them proud by doing good for others.
Kim

Anonymous said...

Yes, your Dad would love that article and the integrity that was honored in those young men...I encourage you to set a new tradition for the holidays, one in honor of your Dad...It usually helps in going forward. Best to you and your family, memories are a true blessing. 862

Anonymous said...

We are so sorry to hear about the passing of your dad. Thank you for sharing.
Deb & John Respess

LadyPuzzler said...

What a beautiful tribure to your father... I am so sorry for your loss