Makin' the Case: Pop: Doing what he had to do

By Philip Case, Published:

Undeniably, Mother’s Day gets more hype than Father’s Day and likely there are plenty of good reasons for that. We, however, won’t get into those since it’s Father’s Day and we are celebrating dads today.

Just like Mother’s Day, if your father is alive give him a nod, a call, a dinner, maybe a visit. Speaking as one I can say all those things are welcome.

I called my father “Pop” and he’s been gone since about this time of year in 2001. He died, like our mother, at my brother David’s house just west of Pittsburgh, only 10 weeks before Mom passed on.

Let me remember him here — and while I do perhaps you can think of your father.

Pop wasn’t necessarily a quiet man except around Mom. He was a good listener, a quality necessary I believe to survive and thrive with Mom for 70 years!

While he made sure David and I never knew anything about it until we were old enough to understand, Pop grew up with something less than a perfect family life.

His mother, who we called Granny, was a wonderful woman. His father was an alcoholic who became abusive when he drank too much. He died before we were born.

Thus Pop endured all the challenges of being Pop to two boys but he wouldn’t tolerate drinking.

Pop’s father was always drunk and abusive at Christmas, so he had no good memories of the holiday. He made sure we did in spite of that.

Pop and Mom agreed early in our lives that David and I would go to and graduate from college. He had only completed the eighth grade, Mom high school. They did what was necessary to make college happen for us.

He bought our first power mower when I was 10 — and every one for years thereafter. With it David and I started a lawn mowing business — the only part-time job I ever had until I went to work for the Herald-Leader my junior year in college, a job he was instrumental in me getting.

The only requirement was we kept our yard cut.

He bought a rubber stamp company so I would have a job when I graduated from college — besides mowing yards!

He made sure we went to church and Sunday School every week unless we were at death’s very door.

I’m not sure, sitting here looking back, if he was fully prepared to be a father when I was born 17 years after they married, after the Great Depression, after World War II. Then David and his twin brother came along 28 months later.

It was a shock, I’m sure, but doggone it, Pop, you sure adjusted well. David and I live forever in your debt — and, of course, Mom’s too.

William F. Case, 1911-2001, rest peacefully, Pop.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.