He Gon Fight the Fight

My dad is one tough sumbiscuit and has lived a lot of life in his 67 years on Earth.  The oldest of six, a farmhand, auto mechanic and budding musician…whose own father died at the age of 45, making him the “man of the house” at only 15 years old…he grew up very fast.  Fresh outta high school, he married my mom then joined the army, becoming a helicopter sergeant and serving for two tours during the Tet Offensive in Viet Nam…some of the very worst fighting our boys saw.

Yeah, he made it through that shit but not only that, came home and raised three kids, worked a day job for 20+ years, moonlighted at a few others, taught me how to play music, gigged a good bit with me on the side, divorced Mom, remarried and raised a fourth kid, divorced again then quit his day job, met a woman named Judy, fell in love and moved down to Natchitoches, LA with her and her son and became a very popular radio DJ for a good many years, finally retiring just a few years ago. And he’s always been there for me.  You could say that my dad and I are about as close as a father and son could be and he is without a doubt one of the sweetest, most humble, generous, kind and loving people I’ve ever known.  My dad is my hero and he’s also quite proud of me and of the rest of his kids.  He brags about us all the time.  Family is the most important thing to him.

Of course like most combat veterans, he’s had his fair share of hurdles, both mental & physical but he never ceases to amaze us with how much strength he’s able to conjure up in that squat 5′ 6″ stature of his.  Just when we’ve been driven to the very edge of crazy, worrying over kidney stones, back surgery, heart by-pass, cataract’s, laparoscopy, dental surgery, lung disease and abdominal surgery…with a huge grimace he somehow manages to pull himself out of it every time, living to tell the tale. Just like Superman.

Dad defines badass.

Last Tuesday, he went in for a routine operation for a stubborn hernia and came out of it unable to breathe on his own, so they put him on a ventilator, which is feeding him a large amount of oxygen and immediately sedated him.  It’s been a week now and the family is beginning to worry about the outcome of this one, so as soon as I got the news, I jumped on a plane as fast as I could and made it down here to be with him.  The long days are spent watching his vitals and observing numerous nurses scurrying in and out, each one offering a gentle, experienced hand in his fight.  It’s a trippy thing.  Today and for the past three days, I’ve sat next to him at his hospital bedside, waiting for him to open his eyes, smile and say something funny.

dark sky over houston

I know he’ll pull through cause he’s tough as nails and has gotten himself out of much worse situations than this, so I have to believe his strength will prevail.  So far, all of his doctors have been nothing but positive but it’s super stressful watching him struggle.  Today I decided just for kicks (and to pass the time) to write him a little song…

Big Papa, Big Papa
He gon be alright
Big Papa, Big Papa
He gon fight the fight

Big Papa, Big Papa
He gon be o.k.
Big Papa, Big Papa
He gonna live another day

We gonna watch him raise his head
And get up outta that bed
He gonna put his feet on’na flo
And shake hisself some mo
He gonna take a deep ‘ol breath
And turn his back on death
We gonna see him busta move
And get into a groove

Oh, Big Papa, Big Papa
He gon be alright
Big Papa, Big Papa
He gonna fight the fight

Big Papa, Big Papa
He gon be o.k.
Big Papa, Big Papa
He gonna live another day

Let’s hope he does.

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