Father’s Day…

Daddy & I n jan 2017


This is my first Father’s Day without my Daddy. It is the first Father’s Day I have not bought him a present since I was old enough to either make one or buy one. This is the first Father’s Day I will not make a call to him to wish him “Happy Father’s Day,” but it won’t be the first Father’s Day that I do not think of him and remember the impact he had on my life.

This Father’s Day, I am going to sit down and think about all the things he taught me. I am going to write down some of the things he said on a regular basis, especially those words of wisdom I will draw on from time to time, knowing I can count on them because he said them.

There’s a book I read called “The Dash.” It talks about the day a person was born and the day they died, but it is not about those two dates – it is about the dash, those years between birth and death and what you did with them.

From time to time, especially during the last months of his earthly existence, I recognized and appreciated many things about my Daddy that I never want to forget. Some are big things and some are epiphanies that hit me square between the eyes, and I wondered how I ever missed them.

I smile as I think of some of those things – he loved apricot jam, fresh honey, hot peppers, black walnut ice cream and Klondike bars. He loved gardening. He could grow anything. He had me bring him pinon nuts from Arizona and though Auburn University Extension Center told him they would not make a tree in Alabama, he planted one in a large container on his sun porch and nurtured it and nurtured it, and it grew. He even transplanted it in his yard. He was a country boy and like the naturalist Euell Gibbons loved the land, especially the woods and streams he roamed while growing up. He could name every tree and every herb there was. He really did walk to school in the snow, not sure it was five miles, but it was a long way. He grew up during the Great Depression and learned how to live simply. He was non-materialistic, worked hard and had gratitude for everything. He wanted us kids to be good citizens and to do what was right. He wouldn’t use the A.T.M.; he didn’t trust it. He loved the U.S.A. and served as a tail gunner in the Army Air Corp in WWII. He served as the State Chaplain of the Alabama V.F.W. and I always remember on special holidays how he taught us to revere the flag and those who served our country. He made up songs and sang them and he loved to hunt. He played a game or two or three of Solitaire every day of his life that I can remember. He loved Sci-Fi and believed in U.F.O.s. He was also a stern disciplinarian, short on giving praise, setting the bar so high that we are still trying to reach it today. And, unlike many of the Greatest Generation, he was able to hug us and say, “I love you.” I don’t have to wonder about that.

If you still have your father, treasure him. One day he won’t be with you. Until then make memories and pay attention to things he says and does – it’s part of his dash, and I BELIEVE that the dash matters.

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