One final spit-polishing…

Last Thursday, November 3, 2016, my father, Nick G. Hughes, passed away suddenly following a brief illness. Hospital attendants were wheeling him along a hallway to take him for an MRI, or maybe a CAT-scan shortly after 7:00 pm when he quietly left this life. I drove to Sterling the next morning and my two youngest sisters and I began the funeral preparations…

Nick volunteered for the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. He was attending pharmacy school at the University of Illinois Medical School in Chicago when the war started, and after he graduated and earned his pharmacy license, he entered service and was assigned to an Engineer Unit. After his Engineer Training was completed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, his unit was sent to the Washington, D.C. area to await orders. And Dad got bored. So he volunteered to work in the Pentagon Pharmacy until he shipped out in order to get away from moving and painting rocks, and whatever other really important tasks are assigned to soldiers who have to hurry up and wait… and he (SP3) went to a dance/social gathering and met a WAC who ran a typing pool: Sgt. Nancee Hauser. And they fell in love. And left the Army. And got married. And had 5 children and 4 grand-children. And Nancee passed away after a long illness 4 years ago. And Dad missed her so terribly. And he told my two youngest sisters that when he died he wanted to be dressed in his best suit, tie, and dress shoes so he looked his grandest when he met up with Mom again. And they got the suit ready to take to the funeral home, and bought him a new shirt and socks. His shoes and belt were a bit dulled, so when I got to Sterling I offered to spit-shine them because: 1) he loved a good spit-shine polish from his days in the Army; 2) he taught me to appreciate and how to spit-shine when I was just a sprout; 3) the State Police academy gave me lots of opportunity to perfect my spit-shine abilities so it is now an easy task; 4) it gave me a strong connection to both my parents at this time of grief and hollowness.  So here is the spit-shining halfway through from yesterday morning. I took the shoes & belt to the funeral home shortly afterwards and then sat with Dad alone for about half an hour saying my final goodbyes…


Did I mention that Mom was a HUGE die-hard Cubbies fan who would quote stats about all the players and games and opposing teams and upcoming prospects….?! So Dad got to deliver the message of the Cubs World Series win to her personally!!

Dad’s Obituary

12 thoughts on “One final spit-polishing…

  1. Oh Kevin, I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. Grace got in touch with me and gave me the news. What a lovely send off his children gave him, exactly the way he wanted it and what a beautiful post you wrote about him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so very much Jean! It is hard to put my jumbled thoughts together, but Dad had just a very short illness and passed peacefully. He touched so many lives in a positive way, and is deeply missed. It was so comforting to hear how much he was loved and respected… and I miss him… and now he and Mom are together again for eternity!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Kevin. Very sad about your Dad. Sorry it took me a few days to catch the post. What a lovely post it was, too. Sending a a big hug across the Pond.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Charles! No worries about time lag… I am just now getting back into the swing of things anyway! Just FYI, my Dad only had a few things that were important to him in the assisted care facility he was in, and one of those was…. Anne’s “The Bad-Tempered Gardener”!! Can you let her know the copy she signed to him was precious to him?! Thanks for the hug too!!!


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