Not every man merits the name Daddy, but it’s a term of endearment my father deserves. I called him Daddy when I was a child, but soon switched to plan ole Dad once I hit my teens. It wasn’t until recently that I reverted back to calling him Daddy. It came automatic even though at times I feel we have traded roles. C. Wayne Greenlee was the “go-to” man when any of us kids found ourselves in a rough spot. If he couldn’t fix things for us he had earned the money to pay someone who could.
He grew up poor on a farm where his family barely scraped a living. He was outgoing, friendly, worked hard and loved to play football. He played at Breckenridge High School (two time Texas All State team and Texas Football 3A Champions) in small town Breckenridge, Texas. Receiving a football scholarship, he went on to play offensive and defensive tackle and earned a degree in Geology from The University of Oklahoma. His 1955-56 team won back-to-back national championships, and their record for 47 consecutive wins still stands unmatched today among college teams. After graduation, he and my mother struggled financially for many years. Before he became a Petroleum Landman, he worked three jobs as an oil scout, gas station attendant, and high school football referee while my mother raised us three kids.
His perseverance and hard work paid off. After we kids had grown and moved out, he went out on his own and became an independent Petroleum Landman. He is the true definition of a self-made man. He came from nothing, climbed to the top–stumbling a few times along the way–and did what he set out to do: to become financially independent while working at a career he loved. He always said the oil and gas business was a lot like gambling. He thrived on it and, at times, got lucky. Many people bash the oil and gas industry, but they don’t realize it’s not all about the big corporations. There are good, decent, honest men out there like my father who sometimes pay their dues working for corporate America but eventually head off on their own.
As for the personal side of my father, I know you would fall in love with him once you met him. Always looking on the positive side of life, he is the most generous and laid back man I know with a sense of humor that is endearing. I’m proud to call him my Daddy.
He has taken excellent care of his family. Now at the age of 80, he is slowly coming to terms with the fact that it’s his family, his children, who need to return the favor. He is determined to take care of his wife of 60 years, my mother, who, after several falls leading to head injuries which doctors blame on a series of mini-strokes, has been diagnosed with dementia (possibly Alzheimer’s, but the jury’s still out on that one). His role as caretaker is taking its toll. What can we do, but help him hold onto his dignity and independence for as long as possible?
So now when I go see my parents I have to speak a little louder and repeat myself often. And when I hug him goodbye I always say, “I love you, Daddy.” I’m not even sure if he notices that I’ve resumed my childhood term. I should have never stopped using it. “Daddy” doesn’t sound childish to me anymore. It sounds beautiful . . . like true love.