When I’ve tell stories about my Dad, I’m always hopeful that I don’t give the impression that Cecil Lewis was only an outlaw or something. He kinda was, but what can I say, he was Cecil Lewis.
Truly a one of a kind. If he liked you he’d do anything for you, if he didn’t like you, he’d still do anything for you.
He was liked by most people, respected by many but people knew to give him a wide berth.
I owe much of my success to him. Not only in the things he taught me to do, but in the things I learned not to do.
He was the nicest yet the meanest guy you ever met.
He was tough yet had a tender heart.
He was a good story teller but not always a very good listener.
He loved his sons but was always hard on us. He knew going soft on us wasn’t the best way to make men out of us. He taught us how to work. He provided every kind of machine imaginable for us to learn on. He turned us loose at an early age and expected us to self-teach ourselves how to operate machinery. He didn’t hover over us barking out instructions. He didn’t point out which lever or which peddle did what. I guess he figured if we didn’t have the common sense to figure it out, how would we ever get anywhere.
Cec was an experimenter. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t try. Most of the time he made things work. But when things didn’t work out, he simply went about it a different way until he got what he wanted.
He didn’t set rules. He just expected results at the end of the day. I’m really thankful that he passed some of those traits on to me.
When he and my mother took on Joy and Jan to raise (their mother, a sister to my mother – was killed in a horrible car wreck just months before I graduated from High School). He morphed into a different person in the raising of his girls. It was sweet and amazing to watch.
The stories of Cecil Lewis are never ending. Bonnie Gay (he almost always addressed her that way) was the only person that could really cause him to stand at attention. She was a small lady, but had grit and determination.
She was the glue that held us all together regardless of what happened. It’s been more than a thirty years since she left us and I miss her daily.
Cec lasted about 5 years more years, but never really adapted to life without her.
I can honestly say that, while I missed him, his drinking had put a strain on our relationship in his later years. It made it easier to cope with his passing.
Now with recalling all the stories about him, it makes me finally really start to miss him.
So please understand that I don’t tell these stories to disparage him in any way. They are told because he can’t. If he were here, he would be telling them, with laughter mixed in, like only Cecil Lewis could do. He never minded making fun of himself.
This shows him in his Navy Finery.
Below is the story of his journey being a Navy Man.
3 thoughts on “Cecil Lewis, The One And Only”
Ronnie, this is a great tribute to your father, who is so handsome in his Navy uniform! No wonder Bonnie Gay fell for him! You do a good job of the hard task of mixing respect, honesty, and love for your Dad in this piece. I can tell that he was ‘one of a kind’ and a very unique individual – All the best on this Father’s Day, from Suzanne Sanders
Oh Thank You Suzanne. Sometimes is hard to describe what a person was like if you aren’t willing to tell it all. While is wasn’t perfect, he had qualities that far outweighed his faults.
I enjoyed reading this about your Dad. Even though it was a long time ago, I still remember what a great storyteller he was. I don’t really remember what those stories were about, but I do remember the way he told them. He had that ability to make a funny or interesting story just a little more funny or interesting just by the way he told it. So now when I hear someone with that same ability it makes me think of Cecil Lewis.
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