Tuesday, April 6, 2010

David Cox

I like to visit a website called The Art of Manliness.  They have some good articles from time to time.  They asked readers of the site to write about men in their lives who taught them "lessons in manliness."  I couldn't resist writing about my father, David Cox. 

David Alexander Cox
Born July, 1946
A stand-out high school athlete in football, basketball, and track and field
Graduated from Caesar Rodney High School 1964
Attended Frederick College in Virginia for a year and a half, but obtained an accounting degree later at Del-Tech College in his home state of Delaware.
Army Reservist
Career as a Delaware State Trooper for twenty-five years.
Father of two sons, husband for forty-one years (and counting).
Avid Golfer (carries a five handicap at age 63 and still hammers the drive)

Lessons in Manliness from David Cox

Every person deserves respect

My father was a career Delaware State Trooper and interacted with all types of people, including criminals and those down on their luck.  It would have been easy to treat these individuals as lesser or sub-par, but Dad treated everyone the same - with respect.
I recall a story he told me of his early days on the road, when he responded to an accident scene with a  car on fire.  The local firemen were already there, but they could not get near the blaze because the very belligerent and extremely drunk driver was keeping them at bay with threats of violence.  My father called out to the man, who froze in his tracks and replied, "Trooper Cox - Is that you?"
When Dad assured the man it was him and that he had some cigarettes to share, the man simply walked over to my father to have handcuffs placed on him.  Dad had always treated this man fairly and with respect in past dealings, and it helped in diffusing the situation at hand.
My mother told me she and Dad recently were leaving a restaurant when my father was approached by a very disheveled looking guy.  The man was happy to see my father and they struck up a conversation and talked as if they were old friends.  When my mother later asked dad how he knew the person, my father said, "I locked that guy up so many times that I lost count."  She was somewhat surprised to hear that because my father treated him like a long lost pal.

Doing the good thing is the right thing to do.....

My brother and I were fortunate to have the best little league coach growing up - our father.  He always made time for us to have a catch or to throw some batting practice, even after long hours at work.  Thanks to little league rules, we automatically ended up on his team, but we were always confused by some of Dad's choices in players.  A lot of the boys we played with had little or no baseball skills whatsoever. 
It was not until later in life that my mom explained it to me:  Dad always picked the kids for his teams that no other coaches wanted to deal with.  Looking back now, I recall having to leave for practice an hour early so my father could pick up two or three teammates.  He did this because if he had not, their parents would not have gotten them there.

My father has always been part of local crews that deliver turkeys and toys for kids during the holidays.  He is an active member of the Lions Club and I have often been over at his house when he has fielded calls from people requesting eyeglasses and eye exams.

I asked Dad once what was his favorite case during his career as a Trooper.  I figured I would get a juicy story about one of his homicide investigations or the time he shot a man wanted for murder.  Instead, he told me that the best event was when he took a box of presents and food to a large, poor family during Christmas.  He said that the reaction he received from the kids that day was the best moment of his job.

......And doing the right thing can be tough

Mom has often told me that the most emotional time she ever witnessed my dad go through was the night he came home from work with a picture of a four year old boy in his hand.  He handed the picture of this badly battered child to her and was visibly shaken.  Dad was interviewing the child when the boy's father - the man who had abused him - entered the room.  The boy jumped up in Dad's lap and hugged him, seeking protection from his own flesh and blood.  This had a dramatic impact on my father's life, but that is Dad's way - even when it is tough to do so, the good action is the only action taken.

When anyone needs help, Dad never hesitates to do what he can.  He  does his best to set aside his own emotions and needs in order to make someone else's load a little lighter.

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Stories about David Cox's deeds rarely come from him.  If you can get more than ten words out of his mouth then you are achieving something special.  I was fortunate enough to grow up around him and I learned that talk is cheap.  It is your actions that tell others what you are about.
There have been more times than I can count when I have been approached by people and told about the time Dad visited them in the hospital, dropped something off to their house, or just called them to say hello and wish them well.  If they had not said anything, I would never had known.

My brother Chester and I are very proud to be the sons of David Cox.  We were fortunate to have him as our personal guide into manhood.  The lessons we learned from him, that everyone should be respected, doing good is tough but rewarding, and actions speak louder than words have been remembered and instilled in our lives.  Hopefully these teachings will be passed down to our two sons and be incorporated into their lives as well, courtesy of their Poppy, Dave Cox.


  1. Great post. I lost my Dad this in July '09 and this tribute you gave your Dad hit home. Thanks.

  2. What a nice idea to think of your father that way. Too often we don't take time to stop and think about what we know and admire about a person.

  3. A very nice post. You are fortunate to have such a dad. I wish my dad was like your dad but he wasn't. He wasn't a bad man. He was distant. I don't know what that says about "manliness" though. I am gay but my two brothers are not. I am thankful that I had a father though. He may have been indifferent and distant but he did provide us a stable home. I guess the only think I take issue with in your posting is the "manliness" reference. I know men who were raised without any father in the house and they are just fine. But I am glad you and your brother have such a man for a father. Of course this makes me seem as old as the hills since I was born in 1941. Wow.