Tribute to “G”
“The command says, “Honor your father and your mother.” This is the first command that has a promise with it… “Then everything will be well with you, and you will have a long life on earth.” Ephesians 6: 2-3 (NCV)
Today, March 5, 2020, marks the fifteen anniversary of my dad, William L. Chever’s, transition. I talk about mom a lot in my blogs; but, not so much about dad. Well, today, I think it’s time. As I think about the man who raised me and my siblings, I realize how blessed we were to have such a strong, male force in our lives. Like I’ve mentioned before, dad went from being a sharecropper in Georgia to a machine operator in Florida. He was a hard worker. I often think about how mom described him when they met as 9-year old’s in Sumner, GA. Mom said dad was big for his age and stood out among the other boys. She said he worked so hard that she felt sorry for him. Not pitying him but wishing he didn’t have to work like he did. But dad didn’t feel that way. He said if he wanted something, he had to work for it. Dad was a man of many faces; he could look at you as if he was either reading your mind or looking straight through you. He could talk to you with a faraway look in his eyes that made you want to go where-ever his mind was taking him. For example, dad said when he first met mom, she was 9 years old and had just moved into town with her grandmother. He said he knew when he first saw her at Miller’s Chapel in Sumner, GA that he was going to marry her or as he said, “she was going to be mine.” With that look in his eyes, I wished I could have gone where he had gone in that moment. I often marveled at how a 9-year-old could know who was right for him. Later, when I asked dad about this, he said, “I just knew.”
Fast forward to years later raising five children. My dad wasn’t perfect. No one is. But, to me he was the perfect father. He always worked more than one job. He cleaned an ice cream shop out on Tyrone Blvd. Dad would take each of us, one at a time, with him. He left the house around 4:00 am. I remember him waking me up to take me to work with him. I slept outside in the car as he cleaned. Then, he woke me up, brought me inside and made me an ice cream sundae. I ate the ice cream and went back to the car to sleep. The next thing I knew, he was waking me up again because we were back home. Dad’s main job was working for Morris Septic Tank on 22nd Street. On Saturday, he would take us to work with him. We played in the mounds of gravel and dirt as he worked. But he had lots of side jobs from mowing yards to working at the Times. Many times, we went with him to these jobs, also. While these were great times, Fridays were the best. Dad came home from work with apple pies, doughnuts and cinnamon rolls from Green’s Bakery also on 22nd Street. However, if you asked any of our neighbors around 624 Jordan Park, they would say any time dad came home after work was the best. No matter what we were doing, we would come running home when we saw him pull up. He also took us to the drive-in movies on Friday nights and for rides through Zephyrhills and other little towns in rural Florida on Sunday afternoons. (At least, they were little towns back then.) Oh, and I can’t leave out the county fair. Every year dad took us to the county fair. He gave us money for rides and told us when and where to meet him. We always knew that the meeting place would be near the grilled Italian sausage booth, his favorite. I also remember when Benjamin Edwards, a now deceased classmate, asked me if we were rich. I asked him “why” and he said, “because y’all have a quarter every day to spend.” Well, dad gave each of us five kids 25 cents a day while we attended Jordan Park Elementary School; 20 cents for lunch and 5 cents for an orangesicle. I thought we were rich; but, not in the traditional sense. Dad made sure we always had something extra; treats, movies, rides, special time with him. Mom said dad always had the leftovers growing up. I guess he wanted to make sure we had a lot more than leftovers.
I also owe my ability to speak up for myself to dad. In 1970, at age 20, I bought my first car, a 1967 mustang, from Ross Chevrolet on US 19. After the purchase, dad went over the car with me and made me write a list of everything that needed to be fixed by Ross Chevrolet. With list in hand, we went back to the dealership. I assumed dad would go in to explain what needed to be done or at least go in with me. Well, to my surprise, when we got there, I looked at dad and he looked at me. Then, I said, “dad are you going in?” He said, “no, it’s your car and you have the list. You go in.” Begrudgingly and nervously, I went in and told them what needed to be repaired. Well, thank God, I walked out half an hour later and told dad they were going to take care of everything. He taught me I could get results on my own; all I had to do was put one foot in front of the other and try.
When I attended University of South Florida (USF), dad drove me back to campus; just the two of us. We often stopped at a shop in Tampa to get root beer floats before he took me back to campus. I was a co-op student when I attended USF and would work alternate quarters in Baltimore, Md. Dad drove up with me and a girlfriend, then took the 20+ hour bus ride back to St. Petersburg, FL. Dad did this alone, although he rarely traveled long distances without mom. When we were little, Dad combed our hair, he made the best collard greens. He even fried pork chops and cooked grits for breakfast when my friends spent the night at our house after the prom. When my prom date’s car wouldn’t start, dad let him use his car. I could go on and on. I am sure my siblings would have their own, completely different stories of their personal time with dad. That was the type of father he was to us.
When we moved to Trenton and dad was in his 70’s, he climbed on our tin roof to fix a flashing because Larry, my husband, was hesitant to get up on the roof. Lastly, and most cherished, would be dad sitting under our pole barn when I came home from work. After mom died, dad spent a lot of time back there.
So, today I want to honor “G” as he was fondly called by many. I love you and miss you. Whenever I go out in the back yard and feel the breeze kiss my face, I see you.
Thank you, Dad, for being the best father anyone could ever want.
Dear God, send out a special breeze of love to all fathers, on earth and in heaven. Let them know that their efforts have not gone unnoticed. They have left a legacy that lives on and on through the lives of their sons and daughters. And, God, let the sons and daughters here on earth feel that breeze of love the fathers in heaven are sending down. For those who are blessed to still have their fathers with them, God, encourage them to show their fathers unconditional love, here and now. Thank You!! Amen.
I can handle March much better now than years before considering how many loved ones passed this month. I always tried to bring him something when I visited him in Trenton. , peanut brittle was his favorite and he didn’t like sharing it . My wife adored my father and to this day laments that the 6 years she had with him was far too little time, they were planning on building a cat house before he passed.My father was the main reason I regained my soberity in the months after Tank passed when I was up at his place and cutting a watermelon and did it crooked all he said was ” that’s how you’re living your life” and then he said ” I never figured it would be you ” ! Pop talked in parables often and I’ve been clean since 05/1999. I could go on forever but just me saying ” Hey G I love you “as he laid in that hospital bed and him squeezing my hand saying”I love you too Bubba”! was good enough for me! P.S. It’s OK to kiss a grown man in the mouth!
Billy, I love hearing how dad impacted all our lives in so many ways. It’s such a blessing that we all have our own unique experiences with him. I remember sitting in the hospital room with dad and all of us were saying, “dad is waiting for Billy to show up.” That was surely the truth. And, yes, indeed, it is okay for a grown man to kiss his father in the mouth. An additional blessing. Thanks so much for sharing. Love you Billy.
Mary, I have so many wonderful memories of time spent with our Dad, Big G. The best is the laughter and sharing of life’s joys and challenges. As Mary mentioned Dad always had more than one job. One of his side jobs was raising rabbits, dressing them out & selling them. I always said there was no way I would ever eat ‘thumper’. I came home from work one evening and Mom had prepared what looked like delicious chicken nuggets. Dad gave me that look as I I bit into the nugget, & ate them with ‘gusto’. He started laughing & I knew what I was eating was really rabbit nuggets! (delicious)! We laughed so hard , all three of us had tears in our eyes. Or when I was in Nursing School @ SPJC, I felt I needed more practical experience & took a CNA class at Morton Plant Hospital, in Clearwater, 2 nights a week, Dad drove me over & waited for me to complete the one hour class. I am so very blessed & Gratetful to have had a Dad like William Chever. The unconditional love the hugs, the learning how to dance, while standing on his feet. I can still see him, in the family room in Trenton, with my now husband, John. They were reciting together, ‘ one love, one heart, one destiny, for sure everytime. Then they hugged each other. Thank you again Mary. All of our memories are a legacy to our wonderful, lovable, special Dad, Big G. My Love always & forever!
Arie Chever McBride
Mary,Thank you so much for such wonderful memories of our Dad,yes,we were very Blessed to have him as our Dad,he was the Best Ever.I thought about him a lot today, how much I miss him and love him.You know, I so remember and loved going to the Ice Cream Shop with dad, and the wonderful sweets from Green’s Bakery,I especially loved the cinnamon buns, and he bought them every Friday.Dad was always there for us no matter what,I think of all the times,I called him when my car broke down or I had a flat or even the time my car’s wheel came off on my mail route. I have always had AAA, yet the first person I thought to call was Dad and he was always there, he actually drove me in his truck that day so I could complete my route, then we returned to my car and he fixed it.There was nothing our Dad couldn’t do in my opinion.I am so thankful and I really cherish the time I lived with Mom & Dad helping with Mom, and then staying on with Dad after Mom passed, because I really got to know a lot about Dad. Thank You Lord for giving us the Best Dad Ever and Thank You Mary for letting me go on about our very special Dad..William Louis Chever Sr..
I Love You Dad and Thanks for all your support and love.You were the Best.
Arie, it was such delight to read your comment. Our parents had the unique ability to make each of feel as if we were an only child. We have a tendency to expect that special treatment from mothers, but for us to have also experienced that special feeling from our father is an above and beyond blessing. It was such a blessing reading about the special moments you shared with dad; it’s a beautiful thing. I’m still amazed at how he did it. Thank you so much for sharing your memories. By sharing your thoughts, you’ve allowed all of us to feel dad’s love, now. Love you!
Mary, thank you again for sharing our memories of how very blessed we are. Blessed for having the Best Father in the entire, world, perfect to us in every way! Without Big G, we would not have each other. That is so important to me. (‘one for all & all for one.’) Having my siblings is so important, & vital to me. Thank you my beloved siblings for being the best ever! As we celebrate the legacy of William Chever, Sr. (BIG G). Love you Much!!
I just want to say, thank you Mary for texting me yesterday letting me know to read the wonderful tribute to my grandfather, known as Big G (smile)! I wasn’t going to respond but because my dad, Jimmie Lee is so much like G & I too was able to be blessed to spend such Priceless, Joyful Moments not only with my grandfather but grandma Essie as well, I would like to share how my grandfather impact my life. Thanks G for being such a hard working father & one who spent quality time with my aunts & uncles. It’s amazing how you can be so much like your parent especially when you didn’t grow up with them in your life. I was a teenager when dad brought us to Florida to see G & to me that was a blessing I am so grateful for. As I began to spend time with G, I starting seeing where dad got the gift of being able to put just about anything together or figure out how to repair just about anything. Because dad raised Jay & I after him & my mom divorced, he also combed & put big braids in my hair, cooked our meals & worked hard. Dad would always take us to the beach, amusement parks, drive- in movies. He taught us how to swim & did so many other adventurous things with us when we were little. I’m mentioning this because it seems as if he did the same things with us as G did with you all. Listening to the stories you all shared is why tears of joy began to fill my eyes.Talking about a chip off the old block, well dad was one of those chips off of G’s block (smile). I loved those times when Lil Precious & I would fly to Florida & spend time with G & grandma Essie & yes I too got a chance to eat some rabbit, that I was told taste like chicken(smile). It wasn’t bad but I haven’t eaten any since, I don’t think they sell rabbit in Jersey(Lol). Then there were those special times when I would call G & after we got through talking he made sure that I prayed with him before I hung up. Yes G you are truly missed but I’m so thankful to God for allowing me to share those special moments with you. Love you!
Precious, your comments are such a blessing. Thanks for sharing all your memories of your father, as well as, your grandfather and grandmother. It is amazing how God made us like our fathers; we don’t have to be raised by them to inherit all the goodness. And, indeed, Jimmie Lee did inherit the goodness. Love you!!
Gloria McFadden Flournoy
I will always remember Mr. Bill and Mrs.Essie my dad’s best friend ❤️
Gloria, how well I remember your dad, Mr. Ben. He was, indeed, my dad’s best friend. Thanks for your comment.