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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Father’s Day Story: One Day I Looked in the Mirror and Much to My Surprise!

By Dr. Charles L. Singleton


Dr. Charles L. Singleton (left) and his father, Clement A. Singleton, Sr.

Nationwide — Absolutely, overpowering and spiritual thoughts of complete wonderment and curiosity prevailed.

Yes, a few years ago at age 55, I was alone in a dressing room that had a body-sized and wall-mounted mirror. Suddenly, I was mesmerizingly shaken and visually astonished by seeing another image appearing in my looking glass; I saw someone else staring right at me. This person, seemingly, was standing quite a distance behind me and across the room. Then, I heard a familiar voice and he mentioned my full name, “Charles Louis Singleton,” and said, “Come a little closer to see what you can see.”

Frightfully, as I turned around to see if there was another person in the room, a vague voice spoke and his manly image appeared facing me in the mirror. He shouted, “Oh No, it’s only you and me!” He paused and whispered, “Now, will you please move a little closer to see what you can see?” I did … and the man in the mirror looked back at me. Once more he uttered, “Move a little closer to see what you can see.” I turned around, and to my ghostly shock, there was no one else in the room but me! And, like a blanket, his reflections from the mirror covered me. Hypnotically, I looked into his partially blind eyes and solemn face and saw years upon years of joy, sadness, sorrow and pain. I looked at his thick neck, broad shoulders, well-rounded chest, strong hips, powerful legs, a slightly swollen foot, with a disfigured and aggravated little toe.

Pivotally and miraculously, while he was turning around, I saw his back and I yelled, “Sir, who are you?” He said, “Charles, you know me!” I looked closely again and saw a familiar stance, a balding head and simple smile. I was astound and stunned to see what I actually saw! Frantically, this episodic moment was so unbelievable; the man in the mirror was my dearly-departed and beloved daddy. And, amazingly over time, I had become my father!!! Therefore, “the moral of this Father’s Day story” is the likeness; legacy and wisdom of our parents are forever with us.

As noted in our Family Journal, my father, Clement Addison Singleton, Sr. (1913-2001), an early resident of neighboring Clubhouse and Givhans (Ridgeville, SC), a Canaan United Methodist Church lay speaker; music ministry pioneer, storyteller and legendary “song leader”, was truly an extraordinary man, who lived faithfully and encouraged others during his lifetime. His formal education only consisted of him attending Old Beech Hill School in Dorchester County, SC, for 2 years and 1 day.

Occupationally, he was a part-time farmer who worked 29 years, 6 months, and 27 days for the federal government (1942-1972) in Charleston, SC: Works Progress Administration (WPA), Ordinance Depot, Naval Shipyard and Air force Base. Clement A. Singleton, Sr., while employed at the Charleston Air Force Base, successfully recommended several safety techniques for Airmen and civilians who worked on the C-130 Hercules logistics aircraft. Because of his due diligence and attention to details, many military personnel are safer today. If and when you decide to visit South Carolina, take a historical ride and tour of South Carolina Highway 61 in Dorchester County, Clement A. Singleton, Sr. Highway (www.scgeneralassembly.net/sess115_2003-2004/bills/469.htm).

My father once said, “Age well my friends and remember these words: If you can take the pains of life, you will live.”

Dr. Charles L. Singleton is an author, clinical participant, research and educational consultant. He recently wrote “Participant Perspective: Effects of Exercise Intervention on Aging Related Motor Decline” (Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation (CVNR) Winter 2015 Newsletter, Page 3 at http://varrd.emory.edu