My Dad


Robin Kessinger

There was only one Bob Kessinger in the world; he was one of the most unique human beings on earth. He was full of wit and wisdom. He was an excellent musician. He feared no confrontation: physical or mental. Two years ago, a neighbor's rottweiler dog attacked my Dad and two of my sisters. He fought it off using the buckle end of his belt to smack the dog in the face as it circled around to bite them. Last week in court, he confronted a young smart aleck state trooper. The trooper had given him a ticket for not getting back over soon enough after passing a car. Before it was over, Dad had the rest of the troopers laughing at the poor kid. This was not the first time Dad had defended himself; and it wasn't the first time he had won. I remember many incidents similar to both of these.

Dad loved people, but he made quite a few enemies over the years. My brother Dan and I talked about this shortly before Dad died. If he was convinced someone was in the wrong, Dad never believed in letting that person have his or her way. My brother reminded me of some of our dad's confrontations. It was never, "Did you do or say that?"; it was always, "Why did you do or say that?" If you denied it, he would say, "Yes you did" and proceed to take care of business. Whatever the outcome was, Dad still liked the person.

There are several things that stick in my mind about the last year with my dad. This was the first year he didn't take his turn driving to Kansas. My brother and I didn't mind doing all the driving, but both of us agreed that this might be his last year. He rode with me and watched me win the Ohio State guitar contest. I remember at every major event thinking, "This might be the last time ..."

Next week is opening season for deer hunting. This will be the difficult week. We hunted together for years. These last few years I found myself becoming less annoyed at all of my dad's unnecessary racket in the woods. While I am sitting quietly watching for deer, I will miss hearing him clanking that stupid coffee pot and squeaking open the door of the wood-burning stove.

My dad was not only my dad, he was also one of my best friends. I am very lucky to have had my dad all these years. I am very thankful. There is good in his passing. He lived a full life. He was a good man and tried to live right. He did not suffer. Too, by understanding his leaving, perhaps I can better help someone deal with the loss of his or her dad.

Reality has not set in. He is not gone in my mind. I still expect him to be getting out of his car in my driveway or interrupting my teaching to have a short conversation with me, or picking a tune with me, or even picking one with one of my students.

I've heard that the last thing to go is the hearing. It's not that we never told him we loved him. Before he left, I hope Dad heard all those gathered, and especially his children, tell him they loved him.

Goodnight, Dad. I will miss you all my life. Robin. St. Albans, WV 25177.


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