When Dad looked at the sky

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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7 Responses

  1. Steve Wood says:

    Amazing story Brad, thanks for sharing it. Knowing that I’m more than a few years older than you, it was a surprise to see how much we have in common when it comes to youthful memories.

    I grew up in NE Oklahoma. The “duck and cover” drills at school and springtime marked by tornado sirens were just as you describe. Only once, in the mid 1950s, did my dad decide that our frame on slab home wasn’t the place to be as a storm approached from the SW. We piled in our 49 Plymouth and headed to a nearby shelter which required driving toward the storm. I remember swirling charcoal clouds tinted green, and hail starting to fall as we ducked into the shelter. Whatever it was lifted, and there was no damage… just a very vivid memory brought back to life by your story.

    As for dreams, the past half dozen or so years have seen “regular” dreams occasionally replaced by something much more realistic. Sometimes they involve people I know or have known, while other times I find myself a stranger in a strange land. In every case I find the experience so positive that I look forward to going to sleep on the chance that a “special” dream will follow.

  2. Shane says:


    You continue to inspire me with your words. I’m calling my dad, right now.


  3. Brad Willis says:

    Thanks to both of you.

  4. PokerLawyer says:

    Brad, out of the blue this week (I think I was talking to her about how someday she would be my age and would wonder where the time went, so maybe not that out of the blue), Ramsey said to me, “Mom, when you pass away, will you please try to come visit me in my dreams?”

    I could only be so lucky. Maybe you’re dad actually is that lucky.


  5. Da Goddess says:

    Sometimes I wish I could just reach out and give you a hug for being such a good man and such a good writer.

    I’ve been struggling with much the same half-second gauziness myself lately. Not because my dad is gone, but because he will be sooner than I’d like to let go. We recently lost the one person on earth who knew my dad his entire life. 82 years (at the time). How many of us will ever be able to say they’ve known someone that long? After hearing of Al’s passing, I wondered how my dad could possibly look at life with joy ever again, but then I realized that he has so many of us who need him and love him that he simply goes on and does what all good dads do: they give us love and give us reassurance when we need it most.

    You’re dad is still doing that. He just has to reach a little further to give you the encouragement you need.

  6. Bubbe says:

    Hi Brad, first time reader/commenter here, bounced over from your guest post on Wil’s blog. This really hit me. I never knew my dad, he left before I was born and family lore tells me he even denied I was his. There was a parade of stepfathers, none of whom were worth even that title let alone the revered “Dad”. When I hear someone describing their father in such warm and loving terms I am at once envious and so very glad for them.

    In marrying my second husband I gained a real father for the first time. He’s gone now and I miss him every day, but he was the Father of my heart and I’m so glad I had him, even if for only a few years.

    Thank you.

  1. December 30, 2014

    […] a lot about my dad’s death over the past few years, and 2014 wasn’t much different. When Dad looked at the sky and Mistakes both fell under that heading despite coming from two entirely different parts of me. […]

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