I’m having some difficulty with this column because I have given my tear ducts a workout just thinking about putting into words what I wish to convey about my daddy.
Marvin Brinson “Shorty” Newman was not just any daddy, he was the best! Thinking about him makes me cry a tears of happiness, and tears of sadness and remorse. I would not trade my childhood for anything, not even another day with my daddy. Why? I never wish to say goodbye again, and I had the perfect upbringing with the perfect father.
It is hard to put into words what my heart feels when I remember all he did for me and all he was to me. He has five children: Larry, Renee, Cindy, Dwayne and me, the baby – the favorite. In my eyes, at least. I think we all think of ourselves as daddy’s favorite because he had a way with each of us that overshadowed everything else. He only wanted to be with his kids, spoiled-rotten bratty kids we could be. At least I can say that about Dwayne and me. We were the youngest and sibling BFFs and as a team, I guess you could say we knew how to work him.
I can recall a summer day when I was a little girl. Dwayne, Cindy and I were walking to B&B Grocery, just as we did every day for soft drinks and candy bars. Yes, I now know it wasn’t the best diet for kids, but he was a daddy that had one mission: to never ever say “no.” Dwayne and Cindy got into a fuss and either he dropped his drink or she slapped it out of his hand. The result was the same – a busted Mountain Dew and one mad little boy! He ran home crying. To shut him up, daddy told him he would buy him a horse! Less than a week later, we were taking turns riding our new pet, Tony, a horse named after daddy’s favorite cereal character, Frosted Flakes’ Tony the Tiger.
That was the kind of daddy he was. He taught me to tie my shoes, ride a bike, and pick splinters out of my hands and stickers off my feet. Daddy spent his entire life always sparing the rod and loving us without limit. All the while, I had no idea the value in that type of love. Now I see how rare it is to find one other soul to love the way he did.
His heart was so open and honest, pure and bigger than it needed to be. That big overexerted heart was the reason he had to leave us. He had a fatal heart attack while I was in college. I can still hear the phone ringing in the other room in the wee hours of the morning. All I heard was, “It’s Shorty, his heart. On the way to hospital!” My roommate Buffie leapt to her feet and drove me across the street to meet the ambulance. I was too late. He was DOA.
That haunts me to this day. I wasn’t able to tell him how much I loved him, how much I needed him, beg him to stay with me, and unable to hear his heart beat when I hugged his neck and kissed his cheek. My life shifted something awful in that instant. I can’t recall the very last conversation we had, but we always ended them with “I LOVE YOU.”
He lived a good, wholesome life with the sole purpose to provide for his children. I detest deadbeat dads and it’s inconceivable to me how children grow up without a daddy. I had two. My daddy and my step-daddy, James Donald Ison. Imagine that – spoiled to the second power!
We never had a clue we were poor, because they worked hard to give us the extras we asked for.
There are thousands of stories I could share about my daddy, all unbelievably true and very entertaining. I’m forced to cut this column short before I lose sight of why I wrote it.
I don’t claim to know it all, but I will take full credit for always telling my friends to love and honor their parents and be especially happy if they still have them.
There are so many of us who wake every day with heavy hearts missing that special person we called Moma or Daddy.
Father’s Day is a worthwhile opportunity to shower your daddy with love and admiration, and remind him who he is to you. To all the dads out there, always remember you are someone’s everything and your little girls do see you as a measuring stick to who they will spend their life with.
I miss him and the only solace to that pain is believing he truly is watching my every move, shaking his head and laughing while repeating a sentence I heard him say often, “You are just like your Moma!”