Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is celebrated on November 1 & 2. These are days set aside for honoring those who have passed before us. Families set up altars in their homes to honor deceased relatives and celebrations are held graveside.
The remembrance of deceased ancestors and loved ones is traditional among many cultures and is often marked by the lighting of candles or lamps and the laying out of offerings such as food and drink.
With these traditions in mind, I choose today to honor my dad, William J. Butler (1925-1990.)
This is one of my favorite pictures, taken when he and my mom were married. My dad was the oldest of four children and first generation Irish born in the U.S. He had a tough upbringing, losing both of his parents while he was still a child. He dreamed of being a lawyer but learned a trade working as a sheet metal contractor, also affectionately known as, “a tin metal knocker.”
What I remember most fondly are the little songs he would sing and the silly little jokes that he would play on us, like short-sheeting our beds and putting perfectly cut sheets of wax paper in our lunch sandwiches. I have two older brothers and two older sisters; we all played jokes on each other…afterall, we learned from dad. There was a lot of laughter in our house. I know where I get my sense of humor and smart-aleck remarks from. It is that Irish gene.
I learned a lot about gardening from my dad. He loved to go into the vegetable garden with a shaker of salt, pull a ripe tomato from the vine, sprinkle a little salt on it, and eat it fresh right there. Everytime we grow our own tomatoes, I think of him.
What I miss are our heartfelt conversations, sitting on the porch and looking at the stars and reading the Sunday paper. Dad would read the paper from front to back. I do the same thing.
There are many things I never got to tell him and some things I probably shouldn’t have said; life is funny like that. Sometimes I pass a man on the street who reminds me of my dad. When that happens I like to think that he is watching out for me. We all have angels, you know.
So today I honor you, dad, for all the laughs and good memories we shared. I know you’re looking down on all of us, keeping watch, keeping us safe, and I know that you are proud.
If you have a relative or pet that you would like to honor, write a post on your blog and link back to this post. If the trackback works as it should, I’ll post another entry with your blog pages honoring your relative or pet.