Friday, June 09, 2006

Danny E. Hay: March 26, 1952- May 8, 2006

I have to tell you, this whole situation is quite strange. For a person like myself who is usually in control of their emotions, and has a fairly firm grip on reality, this has thrown me for a loop.

I've figured out that there is no "standard" for grief. Everyone grieves differently. I've discovered that I can hold it together when I need to, in public or at memorial services. But in private tears are random and frequent. Just the littlest thing can set me off.

At the memorial in AZ, I didn't hardly cry a drop. I was worried everyone thought I was strange for not looking upset. In fact, my uncle and I were joking around alot. I guess that's how we deal with pain.

Denial aint just a river in Egypt. I understand what this means now. Your mind knows what happened, but your heart won't believe it. It's like I have to tell my heart over and over again what happened, and everytime, it acts surprised.

His story is a great testimony to the power of Jesus. I shared at the memorial that Dad and I didn't get along when I was young...that's an understatement. Then about 6 years ago or so, he accepted Christ.. Talk about a complete 180. He became the Dad I had always hoped for. Sure, he still had his faults, but the last 5 years have been the best ever. We did stuff together, talked stuff out, prayed together, and said "I love you" pretty often... amazing. My mother said at the memorial that she didn't know the guy everyone was talking about. (They divorced 11 years ago) She's right. That's how big of a change he made.

So many people were in tears looking at me. It was a little strange. That's because I look alot like my Dad, and have many of the same manerisms. I remember when I was a kid I hated the fact that my name was the same as his, and resented it when people said we looked alike. Now, I couldn't be more proud to pass on the high forhead, no butt and Santa belly.

My earliest memories of my father was watching him work on his 1938 Chevy. He bought it in 1970 when he still lived with my grandparents. It was all original and somebody had painted it blue with a brush and roller. I think he said he paid $400 for it, to which my grandpa thought he was nuts paying that for it. It was a rust free car (rare in Iowa) and it was sold new at Fletcher Jones Chevrolet in Phoenix, Az. That's ironic because we lived in Iowa, and eventually moved to AZ.

He finished hot rodding it in 1982. The following year we drove to OKC to the Street Rod Nationals. There were 12,000 cars there that year, and Dad won a Top 25 award. That means the car was judged as one of the top 25 at the show. He was very proud of this because all the other award winners were red Fords, and he had a purple Chevy.

He did everything to the car himself in our garage except stitch the upolstery. He put every amenity that new cars had on this one. Power windows, door locks, cruise, tilt wheel, automatic trans, automatic headlights, power antenna, power seats A/C, power steering, AM/FM Stereo...It has a 327 V-8 from a 69 corvette. Even though the restoration is more than 25 years old, you can still look closely and see Dad's attention to detail. That car is as shiny and clean on the bottom as it is on the top.. many of the brackets and pieces he made himself because he couldn't afford to buy one.

Miss you Dad.


Amy said...

That was a great post. I love you.

Jenny said...

I feel like I just met him.
Miss you guys.

Dave said...

Dan, that was great, it has been awesome to watch you go through this with such integrity and faith in God. Miss you man, hope your summer is going well!

Larka said...

Hey Dan, I am so sorry for your loss! Campbell's Dad died as well. Your post was very vulnerable and real, what a great tribute to your Dad. Congrats on your marriage!! Your wife seems very fun. I enjoyed stumbling upon your sight!

Junk said...

Love ya man, you have the biggest influnence in my life over the past year and for that I will not be able to express, but thanks and I want to go for a ride when the car gets here.

Mom said...

I'm proud of you Danny!! Love you!