Many of you who knew my dad probably remember him as a quiet, shy man. That was only his public persona. I would like to share some of my family's memories of the real Lee Davis.
When we started talking about our memories of my dad, we discovered a common theme - fishing. My dad loved to fish. He would always get his fishing equipment together the night before a fishing trip. He told us kids to keep our distance from him for fear that we would tangle his line or be stabbed by a fish hook. How many times did we hear him say, "Don't step on any fish hooks!"
He also had his bait routines. To make doughballs, he would spread newspaper on the kitchen floor and sit down with some Velveeta cheese and a box of Wheaties, knead them together, and form them into small balls. He also caught his own night crawlers. After dark he would grab a flashlight, a tin can, and the closest kid and head for the backyard. He would hold the flashlight, the chosen child would hold the can, and we would creep around the yard capturing night crawlers.
|My dad at East Fork Lake, near |
Williamsburg, Ohio in 1998
My dad also enjoyed hunting. Cheryl and I never went hunting with him, but, as adults, we did go with him to check out his favorite hunting spot before squirrel season began. Russ and my mom did go hunting with him, serving primarily as hunting dogs. Mom was the more successful in the role. While hunting in some high grass, dad instructed mom to walk in front of him and scare out rabbits. She agreed to do so, as long as he didn't shoot her. Sure enough, she scared out a rabbit and he shot it. Mom told him that she was the best hound dog he ever had.
Having heard our fishing and hunting stories, you might think that my dad was the stereotypical slovenly male. This wasn't the case. He was very particular about his appearance and even dispensed fashion advice to us. On days when he went to church or some place where he would need to dress up, he was obsessed. He would ask if his tie was too long, if it was too short, if the knot was straight. His hair had to be perfect, his shoes shined, and his socks absolutely had to coordinate with the rest of his ensemble.
Dad rarely shopped for his own clothing, but when he did, the experience was nearly unbearable for anyone accompanying him. He wore exactly the same type of pants to work every day, but Russ remembers spending an hour with him, shopping only for one pair of work pants.
His obsession with finding the perfect clothing also surfaced when he shopped for my mom's Christmas presents. Each year he recruited me to go Christmas shopping with him. I remember one excriciating evening when dad and I spent what seemed to be hours at McAlpin's trying to decide between two outfits he had selected. After weighing the pros and cons of each outfit, he finally decided on one. Incidentally, I was back at McAlpin's a few weeks later when my mom exchanged the outfit he had taken so long choosing.
My dad could be very stern, but he also had a playful side. Since he worked early hours on the railroad, he was usually home when we got out of school. Cheryl remembers watching the Flintstones and Tom and Jerry cartoons after school with dad. Russ remembers how tired dad would be after work, but that he would still play with him. He would tell Russ to get his marbles and plastic army men and they would shoot marbles at the army men. Dad enjoyed sports and often took us bowling and to play putt-putt golf on his off days.
|My dad and his granddaughter, Alyssa|
Dad also enjoyed his time with Quincy and looked forward to playing baseball with him. Each time he saw Quincy he said, "Boy, he's really going to be something."
I hope you have enjoyed hearing a few of our memories of my dad. He had a great sense of humor and would rather be remembered with laughter than with tears.