The very first and most influential man in my life has been and will always be my father so I will go into a little bio of how his life has affected mine. Leo “Olen” Kadura was born February 10, 1933 to parents who had what seemed like a dozen children. One thing they my grandparents were though was resourceful and business savvy. My dad told me about one occasion where my grandparents didn’t have any money to replace livestock so my grandfather placed his cow on the railroad tracks so the government would be forced to pay for another cow since they disabled theirs. Now whether that story is true or not we may never know but it was fascinating to me upon hearing it for the first time since times just are not that way anymore. Who would think to put a cow on railroad tracks to get a cow exchange?
Like all parents mine just wanted their children to have a better life than themselves and did their very best to raise us 6 kids. My parents had given their heart and soul for decades to the original 5 Kadura children. Yet without hesitation and absolutely unexpectedly at the age of 50 and 40 my parents selflessly adopted me. I was told I was a very beautiful baby and my mother loved me from the start. Since I was adopted from birth I never looked or look at my parents as adopted they are my family and will be forever. The Kadura’s and Little families have molded me to be who I am no one else and it’s good knowing I was chosen and wanted. My aunt to this day calls me angel maybe in some way I saved my parents just when I needed saving. So here they go once again attempting to set up another child for success to be the best person I can be.
When I was growing up my mom worked so I was either at the sitters as an infant and toddler or at school then with my dad afterwards. My dad and I were inseparable for a long time during my childhood. I remember my momma trying desperately to wean me off of the bottle and one time in particular daddy was cooking something in the kitchen and I wouldn’t stop bothering him so he turned on the tv to Fraggle Rock very loudly as if to drown out my whining. I guess he could still hear me when he went back into the kitchen into his hiding spot and found a bottle for me so I’d be quite, leave him alone and watch tv. He thought it was so funny and I don’t think he ever got caught. I always knew from then on we’d be close. I went to his job sites with him to oversee his workers, got him Lone Star beer from his Igloo cooler, learned how to cut grass his way, bbq brisket, go fishing and make homemade bbq sauce. When we were all in my brother’s wedding the videotape captured it but people will also tell you I used to walk like my dad. He’d even take me to my sisters in the country and if she wasn’t home I’d wait while him and my brother would squirrel hunt.
In my adult years I began to think how as he aged and I wanted to learn and know more about his and moms life but also noticed how his health deteriorated. I resented it to a degree because his aging came at a time when I seemed to need him more than ever in my life. Slowly he stopped working, stopped driving and then stopped getting out of the house all together. I wanted my girls to know the stern yet kind and brutally honest man I’d cherished as a child. When he passed away in September 2008 I got to see how much his life impacted others in another significant way. He had more visitors and condolences in our small town than anyone else I’d ever been to a funeral for. The seats were packed and the procession to the gravesite was heartwarming to just witness how so many people loved and respected my father. Yet I was still upset and confused at the entire situation. Grieving in pain and selfishly I wanted him to still be around for my mom and family. I expected him to be invincible since he’d always been my hero and even though he’d beat it once the cancer proved otherwise the second time around. We miss him more than we ever could have imagined and will remember him always. We still laugh about his random and not always true stories like how he learned to cook in prison and how he got his nickname killer kawauski. Thankfully the peace of mind I have now is that my mom is doing well, my girls got to know him for a while and he met, approved of and became really good friends with my husband before he passed.
We’ll never replace someone who took up so much of our hearts. We will continue to remember how our lives once were when he was here with us.
Today we celebrate Fathers Day and no matter if he’s your step father, adopted, natural or biological father honor him. If he is across the street, across the world or in the sandbox remember him. If he is in heaven honor, remember and think of him always as you should every day. After all you wouldn’t be where you are or the amazing person you are today without his influence, love and guidance. To my amazingly strong husband who deals with 3 females on a regular basis thank you for being the love of my life and my girls’ most influential role model and best male role model in their lives. To my dad, there are and never will be words to say sorry for my teenage and young adult years but also thank you for everything you’ve ever done to make me feel safe, secure and confident about being who I am. I can’t imagine the hilarious things you’d say about the Marine Corps and what my life has evolved into but I hope I make you and mom proud.
Happy Fathers Day!