My father, Davis E. Speeg, aka “Poppi,” was born April 6, 1921, in DeQuincy. He was a true Southern man. Dad fought in WWII. He met my mother in the Philippines. Even though she was a true-blooded “Buckeye,” he turned on the Southern gentleman charm and stole her to the South.
They returned to Louisiana. Dad completed his degree at LSU and played in the “Tiger Band.” Louisiana was his home, and he loved everything about it.
Dad loved Mardi Gras. He loved to hunt and fish, cook, dance and enjoy life. He loved everything New Orleans. He cooked for 20 when 10 people were expected. He loved his friends, and he was proud of his family.
Everything a Southern boy needed to know, he taught me: how to hunt and fish, how to cook, dance, laugh and tell a good story — some that can’t be repeated here! He taught us to respect our elders and those in authority; how to say “yes ma’am” and “yes sir.” He stressed the value of an education and to give an honest day’s work for a fair pay. And that other than our Mother, there was nothing more beautiful than G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Raised In the South!)
On June 11, 2011, pneumonia took my father home. I miss him dearly and think of him every day.
I am blessed now with my own family — a son and three daughters. My son took Poppi’s advice and married a beautiful girl from Abbeville — how Southern can you get? They graced us with a granddaughter and a grandson 1½ years later.
My son and his wife are a bit old school in a Southern sort of way. There would be no open discussion of names, no ultrasounds to determine gender. In this technologically advanced world, it’s nice to know there can still be some wonderful surprises!
On the day of the new one’s arrival, family and friends waited anxiously. Then I see my son enter the hallway with a nurse and a baby in tow. His scrubs were blue, maybe that’s the sign. No, they are all blue. Then I see it. A two-inch round button says it all — “IT’S A BOY!”
I immediately think of my father. He would be so proud of this “Speeg” boy. No, he is proud. Like my father did with me, my son will teach him the ropes of being a Southern man. I feel the presence of my Dad — father and son, father and son.
For 10 minutes this boy is a rock star. Family paparazzi snap picture after picture. He will be loved!
We lost Poppi less than one year prior to this day. I wished he could be there.
Then my son lifts his new baby boy towards us and proclaims, “I want you to meet … Davis Owen Speeg!” Dad’s name lives on, a daily reminder of a true Southern man who loved his family, and the wonderful Southern traditions of Louisiana. There was not a dry eye in the room.
It was a beautiful day!
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