Father Sir

Dad and us girls 3 years ago– before we knew he’d been stricken with Alzheimer’s.

Spencer Arthur Carroll is a name that sounds as if it should be preceded by Sir, but he’s a gritty, all-American Mr from Michigan.

Hardworking and practical, “If there’s a will, there’s a way” may have been his motto” as we watched him do the impossible over and over again.  How impressed was I as a teen to find he had a huge pile of savings bonds in our bank box– funds he had squirreled through the oil crisis of the 70’s to build us a home in his “spare time” when not toiling in the bowels of GM as a tool and die maker.

Loyal and proud. As I understand it, it was my mother who always wanted to move and do this or that new thing. For her dad would even become a dancer.  Although his talents were fashioning with metal and wood, he once wore taps on his shoes and clog danced with his wife despite lacking rhythm.  It was around this time that my father would raise a 100 year-old barn from the dead– making it a country palace for his Queen.  My father loved showing his handiwork to anyone who happened by, “Let me show you what I made!” he’d say.  There was always something…new building, addition, or some accessory piece worth a tour.

Deeply emotional at times, my father would in later years choke when certain events were recalled.  At twenty-six, a-kid-of-a-man, he scraped me off the road and held me ’til the ambulance arrived all the while thinking I might die– this memory always made him cry. Thirty years later, losing his wife to her wild dreams of being more than his Mrs broke him in so many ways.  On the day he told me mom was gone, I hugged dad’s stressed-thin body tight.  It was the first time in my adult life.

Resilient.  My father would eventually rebound and continue to build– a rabbit hutch for me, skate ramps for my son and more. Like a knight my he’d come for me, for my sisters…for anyone.

What I wonder on this special day is whether my father grew into his name– or was it his mother’s good sense to call him Spen-cer.  Sir Spence.





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