Local resident recalls her father

Editor's Note: In honor of Father's Day, the Citizen presents the following recollections by Covington resident Irene Smith.

My daddy, Guy Robinson, owned City Pharmacy Drug Store on the Square in downtown Covington. "Where Friends Meet" was the slogan. City Pharmacy's claim to fame was that Bob Hope, Jerry Kaloner and Dorothy Lamore stopped by in the 1940s on a hot summer day and cooled off with hand-dipped ice cream cones.

Daddy was a pharmacist and was quick to correct folks when they called him "doctor." His father, Dr. Luke Robinson, was a prominent physician in Newton County and died before I was born. But my daddy took me to the Old Covington Cemetery often where we would place flowers on his father's grave and Daddy would tell me of the wonderful things he did during his life: How he'd sit by the beds of victims during the dark days of the 1918 flu and spoonfeed his special elixir to so many sick friends.

Granddaddy named his house Hurry, as it seemed every time he climbed into his buggy, he'd snap the reins, click the phrase "Hurry!" and be off to sew up a farmer's hand, set a broken leg or deliver a baby. If the new mother named her son Luke, there was no charge. To be sure, there are still a lot of Lukes in Newton County.

Payment in some cases for Granddaddy's services were live chickens, and Daddy accepted some payments the same way. Customers he knew who could not afford the medicine they needed were charged accordingly, or not at all. Consequently, he was never a rich man by material means, but was quite wealthy in more important ways.

Daddy loved to "knock about" as he called it, and I was never happier than when I'd pile into his green Chevrolet coupe (that had air vents cut into the trunk for his bird dogs). We'd bounce over dusty back roads, stopping to visit with this person and that. By the time we'd get back home, that car would be loaded with produce and love from grateful folks throughout the county who just wanted to give "Mr. Guy" something to take home for supper.

City Pharmacy had the only Western Union in town. During World War II, I vaguely remember riding with mama and daddy around town and more often out in the county to deliver the dreaded message to parents and wives that their sons or husbands were missing in action or killed. I recall, too, the deafening silence on the way home in the car and looking up at Daddy - not understanding the atmosphere, but aware it was not a happy ride.

Daddy raised chickens, quail, pheasants, lots of animals in our backyard pens. His beloved bird dog, Bob, was a lemon and white Pointer. Quite old I might add. I decided to give Bob some candy one day. The next morning Bob had gone to that big doghouse in the sky. To this day, I think I killed that dog even though Daddy, through tears, did his best to explain it was just his time.

Just as Daddy brought his father alive for me, I've tried to do the same for my children, Fleeta and Chris, about my daddy. You see, he died quite suddenly when I was 23.

Daddy, this man who loved people and life, never got to walk his only child down the aisle, or his grandchildren. I can only see in my imagination him reading the Sunday funny papers to Fleeta (as he did to me) and patiently sitting on the bank of his favorite fishing hole and teaching Chris how to bait a hook.

If you're fortunate enough to still have your father (or grandfather), rejoice and relish in their memories and times you've made memories together - because hardly a day goes by that there isn't something I want to ask or tell my daddy.