Men who become fathers accept their role with varying degrees of success; some with enthusiasm, responsibility and wholeheartedly, others, not so much, still others, not at all. Most fathers will at some point be looked upon as the "worlds' greatest" or "super Dad" through the loving eyes of their offspring; at least for part of their fatherhood. Dads have their own way of interacting with their kids.
My dad was a "chin chucker" a trait that has nothing to do with boxing or any of the martial arts; it was about pure entertainment. He chucked the chins of his children, nephews, nieces, grandchildren and some adults -- anyone brave enough to stick their chin out and answer a question or two. "What's your name" he would ask with his index finger firmly beneath your chin and thumb grasping the upper chin and when you began to answer he moved your jaw up and down rapidly. The answer came out Pa- pa- pa-pam-ela, or Sha-sha sha-sher-il. It also worked with the names David, Joe, Amy, Allison, John (2), James, Stephanie, Hugh, Kent, Alan, Rene, Steve, Susie, and Greg, his grandchildren. They all loved this little interaction with grandpa, a prolific chin chucker. Once the chucking began it was normal for one of the kids to plead, "Grandpa do my chin" and he would willingly oblige.
Cyril (Bit) Holcombe Reynolds was a middle child of Frank and Nora Reynolds of Kynesville, Fla. His father showed signs of an active sense of humor when he called the baby -- my little bitsy man -- and the nickname "Bit" stuck. His mother called him "Bitsy" all of her life and so did the rest of his family and friends.
Bit found his way to Columbus Georgia in the middle of the Great Depression; his father had died in 1922, his mother would return to Florida, remarry and live on a farm a few miles from the old family home. He met Winifred (Winnie) King and they married in 1934, had five children and struggled through tough times including WWII, he was a low draft risk with three children and flat feet; he worked at a fuse plant during the war. They managed through economic good and bad times.
He started keeping a diary, a gift from his children, on Christmas day 1944 and continued for some forty years making brief daily entries; most of his comments were about family, church and work.
He would sometimes write in the margins something humorous he had heard or seen on TV -- a famous comic of the 1950's said, "I put a bar in the back of my car, now I'm driving myself to drink." He appreciated the humor even though he was a "teetotaler."
Looking back there are many things I wish I could change and appreciate more about my father. I also wish I could again see him hit a baseball into the center field at a church men's ball game; see him, his brothers and their wives playing cards and hear the men celebrating a good hand they played; see and hear him decked out in Santa suit saying "Ho, Ho, Ho" and asking the children if they had been good and what they wanted Santa to bring them for Christmas, the toddlers looking up in awe and the older kids whispering -- "that's Grandpa".
Wish I had been more respectful, more agreeable, more understanding with him. Ours wasn't an outwardly affectionate family although some of that changed when I married an Italian/American girl from Brooklyn. She injected a little more openness in the family and she wasn't afraid to hug anyone and often did so. She won the hearts of my parents that's for sure and most of the family. But love is shown in many different ways even if unspoken at times. And nothing says love like a little chin chucking.
I'm sure that when we meet again he will be surrounded by family -- someone will ask, "grandpa do my chin, please."
Even if your father wasn't a chin chucker this is a time to remember all of his good qualities, the good advice, the love and care you received from your dad. And don't be surprised if you discover ways that he helped you that you never even knew about.
Happy Fathers Day to each and every one and to fathers to be. It's a great job with priceless benefits that you will earn with your own blood, sweat and tears.
Reynolds lives in Pleasant View.