PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Father's Day still on brain

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

My daughter wished me a happy Father’s Day on Sunday. That’s never happened before.
Frankly, I got a little choked up about it.
She was joking, but she wasn’t joking.
Her dad and I parted ways when she was 3 and her brother was 5. They had weekends with him for a while, but you know how that goes. At some point, it just got to be too much trouble, he got his feelings hurt about some seemingly inconsequential thing and they didn’t see him much any more.
Actually, they were in their near-teens, I guess, when he stopped coming around or calling or anything.
Alcoholism can do that to someone.
Maybe it was over when I got the sheriff’s deputies to drive to McComb from Brandon and bring him back for non-payment of child support.
These days, the kids are 28 and 30 and so wonderful to be around.
They’re making their way in the world, and it’s exciting to be with them, whenever that’s possible.
What a terrible thing it would have been to miss all of that – and not to know them as they step out of their cocoons into butterflies.
Oh, it’s not always been a wonderland of joy and string music.
But looking back on it all, as we get ourselves ready for my son’s wedding this fall, it’s been quite amazing – a ride I hope to stay on for quite a while longer.
So, daughter, thank you for the acknowledgment on Father’s Day.
A lot of other Moms like me have pulled double-duty. They deserve the remembrance, too.
One of Pike County’s most dedicated fathers passed away last week: former Sheriff Robert “Tot” Lawson. Tot’s son was killed in a motorcycle accident back in the early ’70s and Tot visited his grave virtually every single day, even leaving little notes.
Tot was one of those fabulous public people any reporter just loves to cover. He could say and do the most remarkable things.
Once, he bought two engine-less, rotar-less helicopters for a drug enforcement detail and had them delivered to Magnolia on a massive, flat-bed truck to start what we dubbed the Pike County Air Force. Never did fly.
Another time, he called me about a particularly tough situation, saying it was a “Russian stand-off.”
And never to be forgotten were his intense efforts after the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash near Progress. He told me, in an update about fatality recovery: “We’ve found everybody but Lynyrd.”
I believe I’ve told that last anecdote a few thousand times.
He’d call the Enterprise-Journal with news and when I’d pick up the phone, he’s say so predictably, “Aunt Patsy, it’s T-O-T!”
Ole T-O-T. He was pretty amazing.
RIP, Tot.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or

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