My Father Emmett “Jim” Jennings

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On Father’s Day, on Memorial Day, on Christmas Day and New Years Day, 

I remember you. A man who taught his seven-year old daughter how to read The Constellations and how to follow the stars through the telescope you gave me for Christmas. Since you were the navigator in WWII, you knew all about the heavens. But, why couldn’t you read a road map? Just kidding, you did very well, as you drove us on many vacations in our Impale on hot nights in the summer back in the 1950’s and sixties. Daddy insisted we travel at night. Always, I cringed every time the car hit an innocent animal while traveling at night. Hmm…I’m more of an empath now, but that’s another story about animals seen dead on our highways. Now, I’m phobic about traveling at night. LOL, not blaming you, nor making this about me, I’m just saying for every action there is an equal reaction. You taught very well, except algebra, though later, I did understand and did learn under the guidance of a concerned professor. She said, “Do you know that you reverse your bases and exponents? I want you to be tested for dyslexia.”

Back to your story, and, speaking of Christmas, thanks for The skyscraper toy with the working elevator, I loved putting my plastic farm animals in it to ride from the bottom floor all the way to the top fourth floor. I enjoyed it and wondered then why you gave it to me, but now, I know why. Thank you.

And, every football fall, the TV tuned into the real football seasons. When they played in freezing winter’s outside or in the hot scorching sun, that was real football.

You always took over our one TV, which by the way, was a color TV. The first one we owned. You built it. I’ll never forget what a Diode is, after you explained it to me many times. Then, you built a 25 inch television for my first wedding present. John was amazed. And, I couldn’t figure out why he was so mesmerized because building televisions and gizmo’s was a regular daily event, living with you.

You took apart our new cars, as soon as we got it and mother was furious that the car never worked the same, but you could always fix it. Always.

By the way, I inherited your toolbox. I treasure it and used it to fix the washer the other day. If you hadn’t of been my daddy, I wouldn’t have known how to break it, and how to repair it. It now works better. Thank you for your knowledge. I fixed a broken washing machine. I kicked it first and said, like you taught me, “You sob washing machine!” It worked for awhile after that verbal lashing.

You taught me about wine. Thank you.

Here’s what I wish you and I could do today, if we had that opportunity, we would talk astronomy, astrology and The Bible all in a nutshell, because you knew what you were talking about and I rarely listened. I’m sorry. If we could do it all over, once again, I would sit and listen. You were a ufologist and I am walking in your footsteps. I too believe, we are not alone.I gave a report in the third grade about Project Blue Book. The teacher asked me, “Where did you learn that from?” I was scared when she asked, but I said, “My daddy taught me.” That year was about 1959.

Of course, your greatest contribution to humanity was your engineering of parts of The Nike Missiles. You graduated in the top of your class at Georgia Tech. You were employed by The US Corps of Engineers. You became Thiokol’s senior engineer before you died, before Joel was born. I wish you could have met him, he’s a constant gardner, like you, and he works for the gov. You did meet Elysia. And, what a joy, she is and you would think she was refreshing and delightful. I think you would have made a great impact on your two grandchildren’s lives. But, I still talk about you. Mostly, in a fond way, because you were humorous, sometimes, and ran a house like the military, and that scared me.

And with much fear and trembling must say regretfully to so many who lost fathers, brothers, husbands and friends through war and the engineering of The Cluster Bomb, that i ( lower case i used for the act of humility) wonder, sometimes, if the children of those who created such weapons of mass death, inherent the sins of their fathers… This perplexes me since I am one of those children of an engineer who designed such evil devices. Are you guys in heaven? I wonder as you are quite than my mother who often speaks to me from beyond. The Bible says the sins of the father are passed down for 7 generations. I sigh ~ at this thought. I forgive you, but do the families that lost lives, do they forgive or are their disparaging memories actually curses? I’m not sure, and yes, we can blame the times, the era, the mindset of the human race, but in the end, are we not held accountable for our sins against all life, human, animal and plants..? I asked with fear, trembling and regretfulness, though, I must admit, I’m so proud of your intelligence. I have not achieved this level of genius and that’s okay.

Running your household using strict military techniques was how a family should run. Dinner at 5:30 pm, sharp. And, no one talks at the table. In fact, no one talks until you, gave us a signal, that the lines of communication could now be open, as soon as you left the table… Of course you had 3 daughters and football was coming on TV or the flowers had to be taken care of, so you disappeared, every night.

Now, back to the reasons I absolutely admire you. You had a close encounter in the late 1950’s or 1960’s. You confided in me at around 7-9 years old, because you were visited by the government, “The Men in Black,” back in those days. You were afraid of “The Project Blue Book,” men, yet, you were not a paranoid man by nature. But, you told me because you thought a child  would not understand. You gave me a stone that was not from our Earth. I played with it for years. It is now gone and it has been gone since you died. I wish I could find the stone. It was the greatest treasure, I’ve ever received. Maybe one day, it will return to me…

I love you daddy. Even though, your departing Earth was a bitter moment for us, both, I understand your disappointments in me… You had more to teach me, and I wasn’t listening. I was too interested in other things, boys, family, children and god, and other distractions.You wanted me to be an engineer and I married instead, more than once.

You wanted to teach me beyond my wildest dreams. However, I want you to know daddy, I’m studying, listening, hearing all the things you thought that I, should know and, best of all, I understand. I’m doing it alone and I do wish you were here. By the way, I have practiced some algebra equations in your memory. “What in the Sam Hill is going on?”

You know, I feel you sometimes. I since your presence. So often, you lead me. After all, I asked you to help me with the dryer the other night, and you did…

Thank you. I know when I need something fixed, I can count on you, if I listen, I will hear your instructions…. So, I did just as you instructed me, I kick the front of any broken machine, except my Apple computer, real hard and cursed at it just the way you did. “That dad-burn, so n so…” And, sometimes, it works! Thanks!

I love you daddy. We will meet again and share a bottle of wine together… Can’t wait, I hope it’s not pink Ripple.

Until we meet again…. Love you.

 

 

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