I did not know his middle name was Thomas and come to find out there were many things I did not know about this man whose funeral I attended last Thursday.
Pappaw Ford as I have always known him was my step-father's Dad. A big, burly kind of guy that to me as a kid always smelled strongly of something mediciny. I think they were Fisherman's Wharf lozenges or so I was told. He was hard of hearing which made talking to him difficult. Once upon a time he asked me if I had put on weight when I was in highschool. When I told him why he asked me that, he said well "your face looks fat". My brother and I joked forever about our fat faces.
Thinking of these things makes me smile because somehow in his death, I feel like I finally know him. Like I finally appreciate the man he was and what he did for me.
Henry and his wife were married for 65 years until they were seperated by death. That is a record matched by few today. Most people today quit when the going gets tough, but not these two, they clung to their commitment to each other until the end. That is something to be admired.
Henry was a Marine. I think that is most likely what most of his family would say he was most proud of in his life. His service to his country. He served in WWII and Korea. I think I knew that, but until his funeral where I saw all the medals of honor, stripes, bars, and decorations it never sank in. This man that I lived around and gathered my impression of from others around me served this great country of ours multiple times in multiples ways. What he did back then he did for me, and my kids and the kids that he will never be able to meet.
It was at that moment I felt like I knew him even though he was gone from this life. Henry Thomas Ford was a soldier, giving and fighting, doing the only thing he knew to do to ensure that his wife and three kids were safe in this big old world. It was then I appreciated him and his sacrafice in all areas of his life. It was then I was sad I had not tried harder to get to know him.
May you rest in peace Henry and may I remember to see past the hard exterior of those around me before they pass on into the life of eternity.