My father

by Rod Smith

My father, EWG Smith, General Dealer, was the most generous man I have ever known. He’d pack boxes of groceries and deliver them to needy families from our grocery shop in Red Hill. “You are supposed to sell stuff, Ernest!” our mother would say. “What if it were us, Mavis?” was his stock reply.”

EWG served on the HMS Dorsetshire. Hardly out of his teenage years he survived her sinking. Consequently he was a man deeply engraved with the shock and the awe of World War II. The war years left him with grace, humor, and an appreciation of the goodness and terror of which all humans are capable. “Nearer my God, to Thee,” was his favorite hymn. He told of hundreds of men singing in harmony while afloat in life-vests hoping for rescue. 

He loved music and fancied himself an undiscovered Frank Sinatra. He’d come to the Oyster Box Hotel where my band played and give me a wink as he danced by. I’d announce we had a special guest and invite them to welcome EWG onto the bandstand. With great flourish he’d grab the microphone and croon any one of his favorites and glow in applause. 

This was among few favors I could give him in return for the life-long hard work he’d given me.

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