It has been 20 days now…. Three weeks…Just three weeks……I still just can’t believe it….

My mother wants us to write about funny times or funny conversations we have had with our dad……The thought of this makes me hold my breath so much I just don’t want to let go…..I really am not sure why but I think I am afraid I will not be able to think of anything good enough. ….Right now I just can’t think of anything.

I know I should have thousands of stories……..I know I DO have thousands …I just can’t think of them right now. He spent so much loving time with all of us…….I don’t know why but I just seem to be having trouble with this one:

I think I maybe able to write about the time I took my dad to the hospital when he fell and broke his hand…..I could write that Matthew was just a baby and my mother was just home from the hospital after having surgery. I was at their house getting dinner ready for them. I walked out to the gym to tell my dad dinner was on the table and I found him on the couch just lying there with his eyes closed. When I went in to see what was wrong, I learned he had just fallen off a ladder and he thought for sure he had broken his hand. I wanted to take him to the hospital right away but he wanted to “get cleaned up, check on my mother and most importantly have dinner. I remember he even had a glass of red wine that night before he was ready to leave.

I could tell about the conversations we had that night, I remember them so clearly and I could tell how he would not let the doctor cut off his wedding ring to set his hand. How he showed the doctor just how to slipped a ring off a swollen hand with dental floss ……. When we were done at the hospital it was very late. I could then write about going out for ice cream with him and how much I loved every minute of that night I got to spend with him all alone.

I could tell about the times I use to exercise in the gym with him when I was a teenager and how I loved it all. I could tell about running around the block with him and when we would see the telephone pole closest to our house we would race and I would win…. every time. He was always so delighted with my win encouraging me to run faster the next time.

I could write about the times he would just walk his teenage daughter around the block and hold her hand because he knew it was important that we walk and not talk and he just be there.

I could tell about the many times he and our mother would be celebrating another anniversary. How he would take his three girls out to a night of fine dinning……And how he would have the wait staff bring out a splendid silver tray only to reveal a beautifully wrapped gift hidden inside the silver cover for his one and only sweet heart.

My sister and I would delight in the glory of just how much he loved our mother.

I could write about the time Ruff-o came to live at my parent’s house and my father would buy her hamburger and bacon; cook it all up, cool it off, throw cheese into a large bowl and then give it to this strange stray dog that just appeared out of the blue one day.

I could write about the time just last year when he was knocked off his feet by that same dog and broke his hip. How he had called me very matter of fact-ly asking if I had the crutches.

When I told him, I did he asked me to bring them over when I “HAD A MINUTE.” And if the boys where around ask them to come too. I would not forget to make sure I wrote about how he told me not to rush and most importantly “DO NOT! go through the house and upset your mother.” and how he said “To just go around back and you will see me.” I would have to say; I was just getting out of the shower when he called and how I RUSHED right over knowing my father never wanted to make a big deal out of him self or inconvenience anyone.

I would have to say as I drove up to the house I searched for him from the moving car. I would have to say when I finally parked the car I jumped out and ran around the back of the house thinking he had fallen in a hole and hurt his ankle by the garden. I would have to tell how I could not see him and then decided to call his cell phone.

I would have to tell how he answered my phone call with a “Bill Finnell” like there was nothing wrong and I was just another customer……… We would laugh here because we all know exactly just how he sounded.

I could write about the time I helped him lay out the new roads and how much fun we had ((I had)) that fall day. How we walked through the woods and how he held my hand….How I held the survey sticks and how he planned and told me how the roads would go. I would tell about the songs he sang and how he danced with delight and just how happy we were that day. How happy I was that day. He was so excited to be moving forward with his big dreams and how just very happy I was to have him all to myself in the woods spending time alone listening to him sing and dance the songs he loved from the 1930’s …….Like She’s Only A Bird In A Guilded Cage and They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa

They’re coming to take me away, HA HA
They’re coming to take me away, HO HO HEE HEE HA HA
To the happy home
With trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket weavers who sit and smile
And twiddle their thumbs and toes
And they’re coming to take me away, Ha-haaa!

But, I think I will tell about the time my parents evicted a woman from an apartment and how the woman called crying and how if they just gave her until tomorrow she could straighten it all out……… ((this was after 3 months of none payment and ignoring phone calls and letters written)) My father was ferrous and tired of all this by this woman. He had finally had her attention and boy was he going to let her have it!!! She was going to pay him or move and that was that. ……my mother and I felt bad for her but we knew if we allowed her back into the apartment for the night that would be it. She would not pay her rent or back rent and …….We would be the laughing stocks at the court house the following day.

It was February and about 7:30 PM. It was a cold night and the forecast for the early morning was to be in the teens. We could hear the conversation from the other room. My father’s calm voice telling her how it was going to be…. and how she could get her things from the apartment in the morning. He would not meet her that night…It was to late…It was to cold and that was that…..

Then the conversation changed.

He got off the phone and said he would be right back. He was going to get this woman a hotel room…..He couldn’t allow her to sleep in her car. After all it was going to be in the low teens that night. She said she would have all the money due to them in the morning if he would just give her a chance…..She didn’t want to leave her apartment. She liked her home where it was. She promised she would do better from then on.

When my mother and I heard this we couldn’t help but give a chuckle and say…


When I realized my father was seriously going to get a hotel room for this woman I told him I needed to go with him. He really didn’t see the point. As I explained to him…..”Father, it just looks really bad for you to be renting a hotel room for a tenant when a lot of people know you in our town” He said in all sincerity…”If you want to come with me that would be fine….. I would love to have your company.”

I remember many things he said to me that night and how it was just so nice being there in the car with him. I remember even though it was very cold that night the car was warm…the conversation was wonderful and the company was the best.

From that night on…my mother and I would kid my dad just about how tough he really was….I would say jokingly…”If you don’t pay your rent ~ I will be forced to put you in a nice warm hotel room. We would all laugh…..mostly him..and then he would say “Oh! Boy!”

We all loved our time alone with him and you know he loved it too.

16 thoughts on “Just spending time

  1. Hello, Lisa!!! I am laughing and crying as I read your words…And yes, you will not ever run out of things to write about…Your Dad steps right off my computer screen, and into the room through your words. And I cry…remembering with you…and remembering my own parents as well…we have both been truly blessed. Thank you for sharing. You touched my heart today as you shared your walk…I love you. ~Janine XO


  2. That's really nice Lisa. I remember too. I used to write quite often and feel a great loss not only with Father gone but a loss of not being able to put my thoughts and feelings into words. Anyway it's nice to see you putting them so well for us to read and what a blessing it is to know how much he and Mom have loved us. Here's a poem that I came upon in searching for words describe Father – Author unknown.I love you all – my dear, Please don’t shed a tear.Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there. I do not sleep.I am the sunlight on the ripened grain; I am the gentle autumn’s rain.When you awaken in the mornings hush, I am the swift uplifting rush.Of quiet birds in circled flight; I am the soft stars that shine at night.I am the water in the fountain; I am to the north – biking the nearest mountain.I am the whisper of the wind, Listen carefully you will hear me then.Do not stand at my grave and cry. I am in your heart, I did not die. Talk to you later. Love, Marg. (your sister and friend) Thank you.


  3. Great Job Lisa in remembering all the wonderful things about your Dad. I remember how he would laugh at your Mother and me for silly things. Half the time, he did not know why we were being so silly, but he would join in and laugh. One day, your Dad came home for lunch and your Mom and I were busy doing something and he made himself a wonderful sandwich. It was piled high with meat and veggies and lovely green lettuce. When he turned his back, your Mom took the sandwich, and cut it in half and gave me half and herself the other half. When your Dad saw this, he laughed so hard. He would not take the sandwich back, but just made himself another sandwich. Another man would have thrown us both out, but not Bill Finnell.Quite a guy!Auntie


  4. What a beautiful post, all that is true, he was a great guy, the poem that Marg found explains him to a tee. He WILL always be with us, every place I look I can feel his presence. Keep writing, the memories are beautiful


  5. I enjoy your stories, Lisa. Sometimes, it is a good idea to just brain storm all of the thoughts that are floating in your head. I find writing to be very therapeutic as well!Jane


  6. Oh Lisa….I love your dad, too, and I never met him. You tell such sweet, incredible stories. I can tell he had a huge heart and your life was so rich from the love that overflowed from him. I'm SO very sorry he is not with you now but eternally grateful you will have him with you forever in heaven. And then, I'LL get to meet him, too.I smiled and then I laughed at the part about his staunch "firmness" with the woman who wouldn't pay up. It is healing to my heart to meet men like your dad, even if it's through your storytelling. I could just hear his, "Oh boy!" and that made me laugh.I came over to tell you how much you touched MY heart this morning with your comments on my 30 Day Throw Down blog. Sometime I wonder if it has any value and you made me cry all over again. I think this is an emotional week for a lot of reasons. THANK YOU for taking the time in the midst of such an inCREDibly tough time for you. It's obvious you are your father's daughter.


  7. Lisa – this is beautiful. I just love Uncle Bill stories and I know you have so many more. You could fill volumes!! Memories will come storming back to you at the funniest times and writing them down helps to capture and preserve them all. What a gift this is and will continue to be for you and your family. Now you see why I'm addicted! 🙂


  8. Lisa ~Tihnking of you and the whole Finnell family today (it's kind of cold and rainy here).I know what it's like to try to mend a broken heart. Sending you a big hug and lots of support –Love Kathy


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