My Dad

Posted in Mixed Nuts on August 16th, 2009 by MadDog
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A couple of days ago my Dad found out what comes next.   He’d been very ill for quite a while and his quality of life was so profoundly affected by near deafness, lack of mobility, and finally, near blindness, that his passing was undoubtedly a blessing to him. My nieces, God bless them, who have cared for him and my severely ailing mother told me that he was in no pain and probably never realised that he’d arrived at the end of the road. That too is a blessing.

There are many reasons why my emotions are confusing at the moment. You either know about it, or don’t really need to know. So I’ll not say much about history.

When I sat down to write this on Sunday morning, I began by using the Search Box in the sidebar to look up all the posts in which I had mentioned my Dad. I was frankly surprised that there were so many. Apparently he’s been much more on my mind that I’ve admitted to myself.

Here’s one of my favourite photos of my Dad:

Arnold William Messersmith - Milne Bay Province - WWII

I wrote about him a time ago here. Dad was a dance teacher (tap, adagio, ballroom), an incredible acrobat, a highly accomplished amateur photographer, and a master craftsman jeweler. I owe many of  my modest talents and much of my athletic ability to the tutelage of my father. That’s not to mention that I know my way around a dance floor fairly well.  Here’s another image of my Dad during WWII:

Arnold William Messersmith - 1944

As you can plainly see, he had to beat the women off with sticks; he was a very handsome guy. I got my dark skin partly from him and partly from my Mom’s Cherokee grandmother, something that has served me well in the tropics for three decades.

When I originally started Madang – Ples Bilong Mi  a couple of years ago, I began with the “About” page in the sidebar. The first thing that I talked about was my Dad’s time in New Guinea during the war and what an influence that was on me. Dad, myself, and my son, Hans were all in the US Army 38th Infantry Division, a peculiarity of our family history.

It’s appropriate that I make some small offering of honour to my Dad as I close this post. Since he developed in me a life-long interest in the wonders of light and the images that are our primary emotional connection to the world in which we live, the best honour I can present is an image.

Dad, this sunset is for you:

A Sunset for Dad

Rest in Peace – Arnold William Messersmith

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