17 July 2014

Losing My Father, After Some Happy Days for Me

Today, my father, Harold R. Delaney, died peacefully at home in his bed. He was 90 years old and had been suffering from lung cancer in recent weeks. No more suffering now. My mother Joan, my brother Doug, and I were beside his bed when my father breathed his last. After a hospice nurse came by a little while later to confirm his passing, his body was taken away. Final arrangements are pending.

I was the first of Harold and Joan's four sons. Throughout my life so far, I have had many ups and downs (mostly downs), but my father never expressed disappointment in me and told me so. He was very well liked and respected by family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, and associates. Harold served in World War II as a radio technician in the US Army Air Forces, and worked for 41 years with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in St. Louis. He was active in our church, Calvary Presbyterian, including serving several years as Clerk of the Session. He was also involved with the Telephone Pioneers of America and in the Cub and Boy Scouts when my brothers and I were there.

My mother is really keeping a firm control of herself--in good part because his death was expected--and Doug and I are also keeping an even keel. My other two brothers, Rick and Brian, should be here in a few days for the memorial service. I'll report on that in my next post.

My father's passing came after what has been a good past few days for me. Last Saturday midday (12 July), I was at St. Louis Outlet Mall in Hazelwood, Missouri for a meeting of the Singles Over 50 Meetup group. About eight of us were there, and we had lunch and shopped at several stores there. I bought a couple of small flags at Flag World, and browsed at Books-A-Million. It was pretty good. On the way home, I stopped by the recently opened Half Price Books store in Chesterfield, Mo., where I browsed the stacks and bought a couple of books.

That night found me at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis' Central West End. Cafe Eau at the Chase hosted a art and cocktail party, in which local artist Ted Collier displayed his latest work, "Waves." It was nice to see the paintings displayed on the cafe's walls, and several of them were sold by the time I arrived there. (Collier donated $25 percent of the art sales proceeds to St. Louis Children's Hospital, a few blocks south of the Chase.) I stayed around for about an hour before leaving.

The next day (13 July) had me at Amsterdam Tavern in south St. Louis to join other soccer fans to watch the FIFA World Cup Final on television. Arriving about two hours before match time, I had time to have a couple of beers and to take in the atmosphere with about 200 other fans--mostly supporting Germany, but there were some Argentinian fans there. Most fans came home happy, as Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in extra time for their fourth world championship. It was an exciting game, mostly clean, and I was happy about that. Overall, I would say this FIFA World Cup was the best I've ever witnessed, and I've been following this tournament since 1982.

Back to work Monday--frantic Monday, of course--and it's been going well. I can't complain about the weather, with high temperatures near 80 degrees F (27 degrees C). Right after work Tuesday night (15 July), I was at Calvary Presbyterian Church for the monthly IPMS/Gateway meeting. This month had our annual Slam Fest, where members had two hours to assemble and finish a model kit, which would then be judged in a popularity contest. I honored by employer by building a small (1:1200 scale) kit of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) from World War II. I had the kit assembled, painted and decaled with about 20 minutes to spare. It was one of three kits completed in that time frame to be judged in the contest, by a vote of meeting attendees. My model came in second, to a very nicely done car model, and I received two $5 gift certificates from CRM Hobbies as my prize. It was real neat, and I showed the Enterprise model off to my dad, who liked it.

In closing this post, I have attached a photo of Doug, Harold and myself taken on Christmas Day (25 December) 1999 at home. RIP, Dad.