It’s Not Just a Ham Sandwich


It’s Not Just a Ham Sandwich
By Bernadette A. Moyer


It’s not just a ham sandwich, it is a memory, a memory that I share with my father. My father loved a good deli sandwich with freshly cut meats and cheeses. He has been gone from this world for more than a handful of years now. He left the home I lived in when I was just a child in the sixth grade when my parents divorced. As a teenager I visited him often.

He taught me how to make and eat the best ham sandwich and all these years later that ham sandwich brings me memories of him. It was a sandwich made on the freshest white bread with deli cut ham and white American cheese and sliced tomatoes with lettuce and mayonnaise and of course salt and pepper on the tomatoes. I remember summer tomatoes on this sandwich and I remember sitting side by side with him while we chatted and ate our sandwiches together.

Like all people my dad had a good side and a not so good side, he had a dark side but he could also be the most charming man. I could remember his temper or his darkest moments but I always chose to see the best in him. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t see the bad stuff; it doesn’t mean that I liked it but he was my father and the only father that I ever knew and loved. Much of his darkness was tied to his alcoholism, a disease that he managed to stay dry from for the last 30 or 40 years of his life.

I could focus on the negative, he did a lot of crappy things when he was married to my mother but just like that ham sandwich that I so enjoyed I would rather remember the good in him. He was a small town guy from a tiny town in Pennsylvania, he was Irish and Catholic. He was one of five children one brother died as a child at the age of 7 and another sister as a young woman from alcoholism. He entered the United States Army as a teenager and served two terms in Korea. He was injured in the service and honorably discharged with a purple heart. This injury caused him to have epileptic seizures.

Women loved him and boy did he love women! He married twice first my mother with whom he had five daughters and later his second wife that he had two more girls and finally a son. He was a carpenter by trade, built a few houses and worked in the engineering department of the same hospital where my daughter was born. Dad worked there for about 25 years before he retired.

His soul was that of an artist, he could draw and paint and build things, he worked with his hands, and dad taught me to love country music. He loved music by Johnny Cash and the Highwaymen.

So today for lunch I had the best ham sandwich…but it really was so much more than that … it was about my father and me, it was about loving and respecting him as my father. It was about knowing that he wasn’t a perfect man, he had challenges and he had struggles but he cared about the people in his life and he lived by a code. No one had to tell him when he screwed up because he already knew.

When you really love someone you love them imperfections and all, if I wanted to, I could make a case as to why he didn’t deserve my love, but that isn’t how I was built or who I am. Maybe I learned it from dad; if you want to be forgiven you must also be forgiving.

Thinking of you dad! May you be resting in eternal peace, I pray.

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Jeans, Jean Jacket and a Jeep


Jeans, Jean Jacket and a Jeep
By Bernadette A. Moyer


That was my dad, jeans, jean jacket and a Jeep since he wore jeans, a jean jacket and had an army green Jeep. As a little girl I was most often his side-kick and sported my own matching jeans and jean jacket as we tooled around our farm and small town in his army green Jeep.

Our farm had a mountain and 33 acres of land and dad would drive us both up that hill that had like a 95% vertical grade. It was a steep hill that most cars would never even attempt yet that Jeep made it a challenge and a fun experience that we shared together.

He was a tough guy and a man of few words. When he did speak you did listen. My husband has that same type demeanor.

I loved my dad and have many fond memories of spending time with him. I also have some really scary and dark memories of him too but I make the choice to focus on the good times. I am more and more convinced that my happy healthy and long term marriage to my husband Brian is a direct reflection on the love I had for my dad. My dad loved me too and often fought for me and stood up for me much like the love and support I have in my marriage.

I love men and am still intrigued by them, they are built and wired so differently and truth be told given the choice I prefer the straight talk demeanor of most men over the drama that many women seem to thrive upon. Not me I am a straight shooter, I also appreciate the less is more and quiet moments in the company of my husband and I can reflect upon spending many hours of quiet moments right alongside of my dad too. The joy was in just being there, being there aside of him. That was enough for me.

Men who become fathers should know just how important that father-daughter relationship is and how it translates for women into all their relationships with all other men in their life. I can’t say it enough I am certain that the success I have in my marriage is a direct reflection upon the relationship that I had with my own dad.

My father was many things and had his own share of demons, but the depth of his love and his loyalty were never lost on me. He would have taken a hit for me, his love was unwavering and if and when I did things he didn’t like or approve of it never affected the way that he treated me. His love was unwavering.

Recently, I was thinking about how my husband who as a father and how he was also such an important part of the twin’s lives. He was there and he was present. He never missed a single doctor visit, school conference, school event or outside activity. He may not have shared many words but he was always present and there for the kids. His love for them was fierce and loyal. The twins will be 24 years old soon and I look back and think just how much he loved and gave and how great a dad that he was too.

Having peace and having love with my dad allowed me to find and have peace and love with a wonderful man that I call my husband. And I am pretty sure that is how it was designed to be … appreciating my dad, jeans, jean jackets and Jeeps …

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All books by Bernadette A. Moyer can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

New books Along The Way and Another Way published in 2015