Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Playing It Forward

In this blog, CRP friend and supporter Carol Malik, shares memories of her dad, his love of dominoes and his acts of generosity. Carol carries on his tradition by donating funds in his memory for supplies for CRP's Men's Dominoes Night. Thank you Carol!
Mary Madsen

 Honestly, if my Dad were alive and he knew about these men needing a place to play dominoes, he would have made that happen.  No doubt about it!  He was a bulldozer operator and worked seasonally.  During the winter months, the men would gather at, of all places, a furniture store to play dominoes near the cash register!  Nothing like rural Arkansas growing up!

Yes, the Iraqi value their elders so much.  And my Dad would have loved to play dominoes with them for sure!  I think the way he put it was "there is no such thing as a stranger, just people you haven't got acquainted with yet".  I wish I had a photo of my Dad playing dominoes, but I think we were too busy playing to even think about that! 
I know dominoes for my family was a time of fun, laughter and talking over some important ways to handle situations of life while we were playing a game.  What could be better than taking a serious issue, mulling it over and finding a way to deal with the serious enjoying something to help relax and solve those issues?  Who would believe you could solve problems over a game of dominoes.

My Dad had compassion for people and was always willing to help when he learned about the difficulties of a neighbor or family in need.  It didn't matter to him what the cause of a problem for the people was, if he had the means to help, that was all that was necessary.  And to this day I remember going with him and my Mom to homes out in rural Arkansas and taking groceries and cooked food to people in need or helping somebody with a way to get the electricity back on or the water running or somebody in need of clothes.

And he never wanted a single thing in return.  If somebody got back up on their feet and wanted to pay Dad back, all he asked was for them to just help the next person they found who needed the same sort of help, long before I ever heart the phrase "pay it forward".  Such a great thing.

For me, my Dad was so special, but I didn't understand the full scope of who he was until long after he died and I use to go and visit my great Uncle Earnest who was raised with my Dad (my Dad's parents were both deceased by the time my Dad was 7 years old and was raised by his aunts and Grandfather).   

 My Dad had to stop attending school by the 6th grade since he was the eldest of my Great Grandpa's grandchildren and he worked plowing fields all over eastern Oklahoma with a horse and plow!  Can you imagine?  

My Dad and Uncle Earnest use to go around visiting family up until my Dad passed away in 1991 and then, once my Uncle could no longer drive himself, I started taking him to visit family much as he and my Dad use to do.  It was such a great thing learning more about my Dad and family from my Uncle Earnest!  They were raised in the time after the depression and it was tough going.  But the situations my Dad was in as a child gave him so much compassion for others. I was so amazed by what my Uncle told me.
My life because of the compassion of my Dad and the patience of my Mom was blessed and I can only hope that what I do from day to day.  And I hope I have learned a bit more since last July to appreciate every day as the gift that it truly is.

It is my honor to share him with whoever may have an interest and I hope my Dad's story may touch some of the other donors of the past who might be willing to share in the lightening of the hearts of these Iraqi people in some way.  They are so very precious!

My kids and I haven't played lately, but because of my Dad, there were 3 generations of domino players to date!  Not so bad! 
Carol Malik