Hey Dad, what you up to?

| 20/04/2015
Cayman News Service

Darley J. Solomon Sr

Tribute for Darley J. Solomon Sr (05/23/1931 – 03/29/2015), written by Darcy Solomon: I’m writing a tribute to / for you.  As I begin to gather my thoughts I ask myself, ‘How do I reduce your 83 years of life or the 44 years we shared to words on one sheet of paper?’ The answer is, I can’t! I can’t because I am angry and saddened by your passing to the point I can hardly collect my thoughts.

I think back to my childhood and how I would sit on the floor at the foot of your bed and watch television on the weekends, usually Hee Haw or some variety show.  I think of how you embodied spirituality. While I don’t recall you getting baptized or being a Bible beater, you would always call the family together at night before bedtime to read ten verses from the bible and pray.

I recall when you would return home after being away at sea for months and how you would wrestle with me, never letting me win and when it was time for you to ship out again, we would accompany you to the airport, waiting and watching your flight take off.

I recall you nicknamed me Buster. As a child I accepted the nickname without a thought and only now as an adult do I wonder why you choose that name for me. As I realize I will never be able to ask you ‘why did you give me that nickname?’ tears well up in my eyes.

I remember when it was time for me to start high school we did a test run on the train to teach me the 45 – 60 minute route I would need to travel. I often think of and miss the study we had in our childhood home. How it was filled with books such as the World Book Encyclopedia, Shakespeare’s collection of plays etc. You didn’t get to see this, but I purchased a small bookcase and began filling it with books. I’m sure subconsciously this was influenced by your ferocious thirst for knowledge.

I often feel things were not and are not done as they should be (recent events prove that), but then I remember times when I wanted to study photography and you bought me my first camera from Ritz Camera store as well as the time when you bought each of the children their own radio with cassette player. I would use mine to make my own mixed tapes and on Sabbath to listen to your Mahalia Jackson and Sandy Patti cassettes.

I remember how you helped me replace the radiator in my car and install baseboards in my house. You probably wouldn’t remember the time I was experiencing difficulty while installing a ceiling fan and I called you on the telephone for your guidance. We were on the phone for more than ten minutes and couldn’t figure out why the fan wasn’t working. I was getting frustrated when it dawned on me I hadn’t turned the breaker back on (we shared a laugh – silly me).

I often wished you were more assertive based on my idea of what a man is.  What I never shared with you was as much as we had a sometimes tumultuous relationship, my contemporaries knew I grew to appreciate you. When so many of my peers were raised in single parent homes with absent fathers, I had you as role model for accountability and work ethic.  Thank you!

While we didn’t have the relationship that allowed us to easily express our feelings I decided a few years ago to make an effort to spend more time with you. I began to visit you at least once a month and I would call you almost every day if just to talk on my 20 minute commute to or from the gym.  When you had your episode in October and were not able to speak. I learned the value of 20 minutes. Who would think someone could miss 20 minutes so much. Well I do. I miss our talks about the weather, politics my goals etc.

One of my favorite stories involves you moving furniture. Anyone who knows you knows you weren’t inclined to use profanity or lose your temper, but on this particular instance mom was pushing you (as she did) to move a heavy piece of furniture up the stairs and you responded ‘what do you think I am a @#$%&*^ crane?’

I will think of you every time I fix a leaking faucet, hang a ceiling fan, install baseboards, paint a room, shop for a car, watch the news and every election season (my love of current events is owed to you) or take a trip (I inherited your fearless love of travel). I’m sorry that you weren’t well enough to appreciate the photos and stories I collected during my recent cross country trip.

Well as I stated I am angered and saddened by your passing, but more importantly I am appreciative for the values you instilled in me (if only I had your penmanship). You fought the good fight even when others thought you couldn’t you showed them what you were made of.  You have earned your rest.

I will NEVER forget you! Love Buster, aka Darcy


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