A Nevispages weekly feature by Curtis Morton Sr.
The way I see it, the same way that MOTHERS get our attention, we should also give due recognition and appreciation to DADS.
Now, I know that someone is going to be quick to point out that there are some DEAD BEAT DADS in the world or mere SPERM DONORS, but I humble submit, that those are in the minority. Yes, I also acknowledge that there are some fathers who are conspicuously absent in the upbringing of the children, but when there is a graduation or a sports meet, when the child is excelling, they are quick to show up and let the world know: ‘That’s my son or daughter.’
Well I newa!
I asked my good friend GOOGLE about the origin of FATHERS’ DAY:
‘History of Father’s Day: When did it start?
Father’s Day started in the United States (US), however, it has gained a lot of prominence in India in the last few years.
Father’s Day was first proposed by Sonora Smart Dodd in the USA. She and her five siblings were raised by her dad, who was a civil war veteran William Jackson Smart.
Looking at her dad’s dedication and support towards the family, she wanted to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. Sonora wanted Father’s Day celebrations to be held on 5 June, which was her dad’s birthday, but due to the time constraints of the Church, the day was finally celebrated on the third Sunday of June.
The first Father’s Day was celebrated on 19 June, 1910. Later, on 1 May, 1972, the then-President of the US Richard Nixon declared Father’s Day as a national holiday. Therefore, the first official Father’s Day celebration in the US was on 18 June, 1972.’
So, naturally, at this time of year, I cannot help but remember the great man who helped to mould me and shape my life. His name was LUTHER VINCENT MORTON.
He was not educated like my Mom, who was a school teacher by profession, but he was STREET SMART and applied common sense, to his daily routines.
Case in point: I remember that one evening, as the family gathered in the living room, to watch the evening news on ABS TV, one of the then government Ministers was making a presentation and my dad said something like: ‘He is a BIGMITARY.’ My mother laughingly corrected him, saying that the word is DIGNITARY. However, my dad insisted that he was not so wrong, because the man was, after all, a BIG SHOT!
He made every effort to ensure that his family was well provided for. He started as an employee of the well-known financial giant at the time, Edmund Slack. He later branched off into his own business, operating a little bar shop.
He also learnt the art of sewing and at one point, was an established Tailor.
Now, back in the day, people used to go to the village shops and collect their food items and when they did not have enough cash, they would TRUST. So, my dad had a big book with all these names in it, of people who OWED. Note well, some people would OWE for lonnnngggg! Some for eternity.
Eventually, during a family meeting, we determined that the DANCE WAS NOT PAYING FOR THE LIGHTS. My dad was literally broke but was adamant that he was not going to close the shop. He wanted to continue the operation, mainly to save face and to give the impression that all was well. So many people owed and the money was just not there to replace the items on the shelves. Eventually, we convinced him to close.
I know that it was a heartbreaking moment for him.
However, with his usual resolve to bounce back, he soon got into the Taxi business and he was one of the most affable and loyal servants of the trade on the island. He generally had this wide smile; was very easy going and good looking. (I think he got his looks from me…) He operated mainly out of the Airport and later managed to get a contract with the prestigious Four Seasons Resort.
He was eventually forced to retire, due to failing eyesight.
His last days were spent as just a semblance of the man I once knew. He was bedridden for those final days and was dependent on loved ones for his sustenance. Just how he was there for us in our upbringing, so too, we as a family, were there for him in his times of need.
It was a sad day when I got that dreaded phone call from Nurse Ima, at 5 a.m. that morning. Before she could say anything, I said: ‘He is gone-right?’ ‘How did you know?’ she retorted.
I said something like: ‘I don’t think you will be calling me this early unless something terrible has happened.’
She then officially told me that Luther Vincent Morton had passed to the great beyond. The year was 2015.
Those of you who still have fathers, please try your utmost to show appreciation to them—all year round.
Those of you who are fathers, please try to be there for your children every day that God gives you the opportunity to do so. Be kind, yet firm and be an example setter to them.
God would want us to: ‘Train up a child in the way he should go and when he gets old, he would not depart from it.’
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?