1915 – 1999
WORLD WAR II VETERAN
Hood County News On-Line Edition June 18, 1999
|Jim Clements with his daughter |
Kathy Smith and grandson Jacob in 1985
Happy Father’s Day
By KATHY SMITH
Tomorrow is Father’s Day and I thought that I might take a little journalistic license and tell you a little about my father.
To describe my daddy, certain words come to mind–charming, funny, sincere, caring, talented and endearing. I’ve always described him like that and would tell people, “If you don’t believe me, just ask him–he’ll tell you the same!” I guess I should add confidant to that too.
Jim Clements was born in Whitney, Texas in 1915. He grew up in Cleburne. Using those dashing and charming qualities he possessed, he managed to take his 23-year-old Spanish teacher to his high school prom.
He was a gunnery sergeant in the “big one”–WWII and in his younger days, there wasn’t anyone who could jitterbug any better than my daddy.
My mother passed away when I was 13 and Daddy and I leaned on each other and learned from each other. I may have lacked in some skills by not having a mom during my formative years, but Daddy made sure I didn’t miss the important ones.
Not long after my mother died, my dad bought the old “Rankin’s Café,” which was on Pearl Street, and renamed it “Lakeview Restaurant.” A couple of years later, he sold it. It then became “Mildred’s Lunchbox.”
Now, Granbury was different then. 1970-71. B.T. (Before Tourism) Daddy wanted to bring some “class” into Granbury and decided to educate Granbury’s tastebuds.
Daddy hated the idea of the “plate lunch special,” but he knew he needed to have one to please the public. So, he decided that his plate lunches would be different.
He started experimenting with recipes and would try them out on me for supper. I was probably the only 13-year-old girl in Granbury, Texas in 1970, who was eating Chicken Cordon Bleu, Chicken Kiev and such for dinner.
Well, Daddy reached, what he thought, was culinary excellence and the next week, he put “Beef au Vin, served with fresh pasta” on the plate lunch menu.
Sold two orders.
The next day, Daddy put those leftovers on the plate lunch menu as, “Beef Tips and Noodles.”
Sold out. Go figure.
Daddy always made me and my friends laugh. Whenever my best friend Marla Smith came over, Daddy would take one look at Marla and dryly say, “Gosh, Kathy, can’t you find some better friends than her?” This would set the two of them to bantering back and forth like the Hatfields and McCoys.
Twenty-one years ago (at the ripe old age of 21), I called my dad to tell him I was going on a blind date. I said his name was “Smith.”
Daddy said, “Likely.”
I told him, “He’s 32.”
“Don’t you think that’s a little old for you? Are you sure he’s not married?”
“Does he have any children?”
“Yes, Daddy, he’s got custody of two little girls, ages 5 and 6.”
“I swear Kathy, you have to be the stupidest daughter I’ve raised!”
“Don’t worry Daddy. I’m just going out with the guy; I’m not going to marry him!”
Almost two years later, my Daddy walked me down the aisle and gave me away to that divorced older man with the two kids. We’ll celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary next May.
Daddy was always there for me, giving me encouragement, humor and his prayers.
Daddy passed away just two and a half weeks ago and, although we told each other that we loved each other every time we spoke, I wish I had said it more.
So, remember your dad today, tomorrow and forever with lots of “I love yous.” You’ll both be richer for it.