The Day That Changed Everything

I wrote the original version of this post on an old blog I had on my business site on August 18, 2015. I am updating it here because I’m moving all of my personal posts here and this is an extremely major part of the Life and Times of Paul Timmy and it needed to be in this journal.

August 18, 1973.

My first day of being a teenager. Last night I got to celebrate my birthday with Mommy and Daddy and David. Corn on the cob and chicken, what a great meal! Then we got to watch our beloved Buffalo Bills play the Redskins in a pre-season game. It was the very first game in the new “Rich Stadium” and it was a pretty big deal for Buffalo. Sure the Redskins destroyed them but still, living in Roanoke, we no longer had many chances to see our Bills play.

Today, after Daddy got home from work we were supposed to go to Lakeside Park, my favorite amusement park. Maybe I’d finally work up the courage to ride the Shooting Star rollercoaster with Daddy. He’ll be so proud of me.

Here comes Mommy to wake me up, must be time to go to…

“Paul! Wake up! There has been an accident…”

Here is how I remembered that night and day in two posts on Facebook last year:

45 years ago tonight the Buffalo Bills played the first game at their brand new stadium in Orchard Park. They played the Washington Redskins, and since we were living in Roanoke (part of the Redskins TV network) we got to see to our beloved Bills play that night. I thought it was a great ending to my 13th birthday. Little did I know that this was the last time I would get to watch them with my Dad, who taught me to love the Bills.

The Bills lost that game on August 17, 1973. Sometime during the 4th quarter, my Dad had to go to work. He was a driver for the Roanoke Times and was supposed to have been off that whole weekend. We were going to watch the Bills on Friday and go to Lakeside (local amusement park) on Saturday. But he was called in to work on Friday evening, so off he went.

Around 6 Saturday morning, my Mom came and woke me up, told me to pray because she’d just had a phone call that my Dad had been in a wreck in his truck. We didn’t know anything more at that time.

About an hour later we got the news that my Dad was gone…

Tonight I’m just remembering how great it was to celebrate my 13th birthday watching the Bills open Rich Stadium with my Dad. After we had moved to Roanoke we didn’t get to see them play very often. But that night we did.

—-

Can it really be…

It’s hard to believe it has been 46 years since that fateful morning. I can remember those details so clearly. It really doesn’t seem possible it was that long ago. And yet, as the years go by, other details about Roosevelt Oyler, Jr. (“Junior” to his Roanoke family and friends, “Bud” to his Buffalo friends and my Mom’s family, “Daddy” to me and my brother David) seem to slip further and further away.

I think these are memories…

You know the kind of things: The feel of his touch. The sound of his voice. The smell of his aftershave. And maybe some things I never really knew, like his favorite movie, his favorite song, his favorite food, his favorite TV show, his favorite car. Some of those I can guess at – I know he liked Hee-Haw and The Lawrence Welk Show. I know he liked Al Hirt and Herb Alpert and Jim Reeves and the Metropolitan Opera. (Is it any wonder my musical tastes are so diverse?) But other things I don’t know and never will. I’d love to be able to ask him some of those things. I’d REALLY like to ask him how and why he liked OPERA!

I remember he worked a lot, but I don’t remember many of his jobs, except of course that last one, the one that took his life–driving for the Roanoke Times.

Church memories…

I know he was always involved in our church, first at Kensington Alliance, and then when we had to move, it was Kenmore Alliance. Then we moved again and it was back to Kensington. Then we were involved in the planting and start of Amherst Alliance. And then, of course, the Roanoke Alliance Church. But I don’t remember so well what he did in the churches.

Silly sense of humor…

I remember he loved to kid around, and he always loved to tease kids. He had this way of sticking his teeth out and clacking them together that was hilarious to boys and totally freaky to most girls. And he had a glass eye that he was known to pop out on occasion for the shock value. (Does anyone wonder why I tend to go for the shock value?)

But there are an awful lot of things I don’t remember about my Daddy. I know the chances are are next to impossible, but if you knew my dad, please leave a comment below, and share at least one memory, and more, if you have them. And if you know any of his favorites of anything, please share that as well.

It seems like yesterday…
It seems so very long ago…

1 Comment

  1. Patricia Linkous on September 11, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    I remember that day also. It was such a shock. He was my uncle (my Mom’s brother) and he was so lovable. He love to kid around and pull jokes on people. I remember everytime we want a picture of him he would stick his teeth out. He was such a joy and pleasure to be around. I remember going to Buffalo alot and had such a great time. I have so many good memories of him. He was a trip. He always brighten up the room he was in.

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