Dick Dixon (1922-2010) [re-post]

My father was a great demonstrator of love. He not only spoke words of love and kindness and compassion, he demonstrated those virtues in his daily routine.

One of my earliest realizations of how much he loved us came in a dim early morning in Rocky Mount, NC.  He was taking my brother Rikk and me to the bathroom in the wee morning hours so we wouldn’t “wee” in our beds.  For some reason this morning I was fully awake, I wasn’t just guided through the process half asleep.

And I remember thinking at the time how much our Dad must have loved us, to interrupt his own sleep to see that his boys stayed clean and dry through the night.

That’s a practical demonstration of love.

He never raised a hand or a threat to Mom.  They would argue at times, and Dad could be gruff, but there was never ever so much as a hint of a threat of violence.

He treated all women with respect and dignity, never dismissively or derisively.  And while my Aunt Bidney may remember a more mischievous, more irascible side of Dad, at the same time she knows the love and respect we show for her comes in no small part from our father showing through his life and his actions how women -- all women -- were supposed to be treated.

That’s a practical demonstration of love.

He never cared much for movies or TV shows or works of fiction, yet when we lived in Madisonville, TN he would drive me once a month to Knoxville to attend a sci-fi club meeting at the University of Tennessee.  He spent the hour or two the meeting would take place in the lobby of the student union, waiting for us to finish gushing over our enthusiasm for the genre.  The round trip must have been close to 80 miles, but he did it willingly, without complaint, and without having to be begged.

I only asked him once if I could attend.  He said, “We’ll see about it” and then he did it.

That’s a practical demonstration of love.

One of Dad’s favorite catch phrases was “do it then talk about it”.  All the great demonstrations of love in his life, the love his showed his sons, the incredible love, loyalty, dedication and tenderness he showed his wife and our mother, Bettina, and the love he showed for humanity came through his deeds, not his words.

That’s a practical demonstration of love.

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