15(photo left to right - My Uncle Roland Horton (U.S. Navy) and his brother (my father), Norman Horton (U.S. Army)

Father's Day is coming up this week. Sunday June 18th to be exact, that is if I'm looking at the 2023 calendar, not the 2022 calendar that I keep forgetting to take down of my kitchen wall. It has messed me up one too many times this year.

Fathers can be hard to buy for when it comes to finding that perfect Father's Day gift. Especially when he has just about everything he needs. But, it's really not about the gift anyway, is it?

It's the time you spend with your dad, and the memories you make over the years. The time together goes by faster that you'd think. I am now at the exact age my father was when he passed away 23 years ago, just about a week after Father's Day.

While we had our differences while I was growing up, as an adult, I learned that he only wanted me to jump into the world of adulthood ready for the good and bad that life throws your way. I just didn't realize it as a teenager.

We had many bonding moments before he passed away. My father who was not one to travel all the way into the big city of Binghamton to visit me from his home in a small town in Western New York, did surprise me once time when I invited him to accompany my wife and me to Disney World, by accepting my invitation.

My dad and Disney World didn't seem right in the same sentence. But then I remembered as a child, we would all gather around our small black & white TV watching the Wonderful World of Disney every Sunday evening, complete with static and signal weaving in and out from the roof antenna trying to pick up a television station almost 100 miles away. So he must have had a certain admiration for the playland that Walt built.

The evening before we flew down to Orlando, I took him to see June and Johnny Cash perform at the Broome County Arena. It was his first time (and I think only time) attending a large concert. To be with my dad, enjoying the music of the Man in Black was unforgettable. And so was the time at Disney World.

Dad at Disney
Don Morgan

One thing we talked about from time to time, was taking a trip together to visit where I was born. My dad proudly served in the United States Army with the Military Police at Fort Hood, Texas. And it was on that base in 1955 that I was born.

Unfortunately, that trip never happened, although I imagine it would have been an amazing and emotional time touring the base and learning about his time at Fort Hood. Years later, my wife and I took that trip to visit the base, but the barracks that had been a temporary hospital where I was born, was torn down sometime in the early 1960s, and replaced by a shiny new hospital building.

I will never forget dad recalling what his commanding officer told him when being informed that I was born. The words might be just a bit different since it was so long ago that he told me this, but basically he said to my dad, "Your wife just gave birth to a son. You have exactly 30 minutes to get to the hospital to see them and back here to your post, or you will be declared AWOL."

He never said, but I guess he made it back in time. Happy Father's Day, Dad.

Dad 2
U.S. Army

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