Wednesday, February 15, 2006

To My Dad On His Birthday

Happy Birthday Dad! (February 15, 1928) (Click pictures for larger view) Posted by Picasa
My birthday!--what a different sound
That word had in my youthful ears;
And how each time the day comes round,
Less and less white its mark appears.
~ Thomas Moore, My Birthday
Today is my father's birthday. Mom had this cake made so they could celebrate with the JOY Club at their church. (Just Older Youth). The cake was strawberry, or rather a strawberry shortcake cake. Yes, two layers of yellow cake with fresh strawberries in a glaze between the layers and a whipped cream type of icing on top. It was VERY tasty!

So, who is this Loren William, my father, married to the love of his life, Lorane, for 55 years? He is a simple, but complex man, aren't they all? (continued)
He is a lover of animals but it was a subtle love when I was a child. And yet, he warmed and resuscitated my almost frozen little chick as my five year old self stood sobbing "Daddy, please don't let Cheep-Cheep die!" As Stephen and I stood behind him at the door one morning, we watched him take in the little black dachshund as the small girl holding her fought back tears, "Mom said I had to give her away on the way to school, I can't take her home and you are the last house, please give her a home." We were both amazed. He built her a magnificent two room house with insulation, a window in the front parlor and a hinged roof (where Pepper, like Snoopy spent a lot of her time). When Mom wanted another cat, he went to North Carolina with her and brought back Maggie. Suddenly, she (Maggie) was his "baby", he was her "daddy" and though it was Mom who pushed to get her, Maggie is completely and totally a "Daddy's girl."

Two years ago, when my job was ending, they took in our crew, all six. Our cats made themselves at home. He cared for them, spoiled them and loved them. Six months later when Nyssa and I finally arrived, our cats were more at home than we were.

Rhett, always the talker wants to share a few words here. "This is my grandpa but mostly he is my buddy. I love to read the paper with him and sometimes I sit on his lap. Here he lets me sleep on his arm while he watches TV. I know it won't last long. Soon he'll get tired of changing the stations and he will fall asleep. See, I told you he would. Now, I can get on over into his lap and we will have a nice nap together. Yes, I like it here. Grandpa is always around so I get a lot of attention. Happy Birthday Grandpa! From me (Rhett) and all the others."

My dad is a simple farm boy. He tells stories of going to college and meeting my mother; how he worked at the college farm for tuition and ate crackers and home churned butter from his mom and how he worked special events in the kitchen for a meal. But his college stories are filled with warmth and love for his friends. His life has been one of a shepherd; a minister leading his church and seekers to find their own personal relationship with God. They are the jewels in his crown and what a glorious crown it will be.

He has also been a father. We never had leftovers; his leftover time, his leftover love or his leftover interest. As his children, Stephen and I always had his best. He was always there when we had the stomach flu, or ear aches or colic; doing his best to make our bodies feel better and sharing our pain. He taught us to drive, read night time stories, fixed lunches with sliced hot dog and cheese sandwiches, stayed up to listen to the weather warnings and led us to safety in the basement before the tornado. He set limits and stood by them and his punishment was always tempered with love and concern. He was waiting when this daughter came in at 2 AM after an extended bowling extravaganza with the teen girls of the church; he was "disappointed in me because I had not called" and I was grounded. His "disappointment" stung worse than any grounding or even a flogging would have done. When his 9 year old son and a friend found a six pack of beer in a stream and each drank a can, he came in to find my mom just a bit hysterical and Stephen hanging over the toilet throwing up, as sick as a dog. I expect he had his hands full calming her down. But his "Now, Lorane, the boy is sick to his stomach. I think he's learned his lesson and the nausea should be punishment enough" was wise. Dad has always been wise.

When the troubles of life came for either of his children, he was there; there to help as much as possible. We never avoided our consequences, but we knew Dad loved us through them. We have always been able to lean on him, and we still do.

So, Happy Birthday to my DAD; no, Happy Birthday to my DADDY, because I am still and will always be his "little girl." I LOVE YOU!
"There's no pillow quite so soft as a father's strong shoulder." ~ Richard L. Evans
(end of post)

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