Although my father went home to Glory almost twenty-five years ago, I find myself thinking more and more about him. Especially now as it is close to what would have been his 96th birthday.
As a child I remember my father walking around with small spiral bound flip style notepads in his shirt pocket. Along with the notepad, he kept his ever present pencils. Now we had hundreds of government issued black ink pens around our house that he got from his job, but for some reason, his notes were always written in pencil. Speaking of his writing, his penmanship was beautiful for a man, although, I thought it was extremely ugly at the time. He wrote with an exaggerated slant reserved for left handed writers even though he was right handed.
His notes didn't make sense to me at the time and clearly being a child, I didn't take the time to read them. But after he died it was a pleasure stumbling across pieces of paper he had written on. It took me back to a time in my childhood where the memories were good. If he could have accomplished everything he'd written about, he would have died a wealthy man. Truly a man before his time, he also typed endless notes on his Royal and Remington typewriters. I sure wish he could have been around for the age of computers. If you saw my father, he had a kind word for everyone and then would go into his spill to sell you whatever he was into that day: BestLine, Amway, Kirby Sweepers, insurance, NAACP memberships, magazine subscriptions, fundraisers or tickets to whatever event was going on at this time.
During the time of the illness that eventually took his life, he would ask the doctors and nurses who assisted in each of his surgeries to buy NAACP memberships before operating on him. Black, white, red and yellow, it didn't matter what color they were, he asked anyway and they all bought them. He won several awards for selling the most memberships in his chapter.
The government honored him on several occasions for his writings. He was also awarded for being the fastest typies in his Army unit. Had he wanted to, he could have been a great author. He was my inspiration. But the thing I remember most is those spiral notepads. How I wish I had paid more attention to them when I younger. Now that I'm in my fifties, I realize now what he was writing in those notepads. Just as I do now, he was writing his thoughts. Sometimes just a word, sometimes a phrase, but something that would jog his memory at an appointed time, just when he needed it.
By writing his thoughts, he didn't have to think of an appropriate phrase or response, it was already written down. Therefore, he was never at a loss for words. Having his notes handy kept him from sounding like a blubbering idiot. He didn't have to use the "um's" and the "you know's" in his conversations that young people today pepper their conversations with. When he wanted to complete a project, he could go back to one of those trusty notepads and find his thoughts or his homeade instructions. He had a note for everything, just as I do now.
Now that we are in an age where the cell phone has become an appendage to our bodies and texting has become the familiar mode of communications, handwritten notes are more and more obsolete. Yes, we make "to do" lists, grocery lists and shopping lists, but making notes about your thoughts clears your mind for the important stuff. Just don't throw the notes away, you kids and grandkids will love reading the things you were thinking!
If you talk about doing something and don't do it, it's just talk!
Writing your thoughts can organize you.
Writing your thoughts validates you.
Date everything. Nothing worse than writing it down and having no time frame for its' origin.