Sunday, June 18, 2006

My Dad

My Dad, ~ Age 10.
Dad: "Look, I always did like wearing a tie."
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"God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so,
He called it ... Dad"
~ Author Unknown
My father is a farmboy, the second of five children, born in 1928. He went to school in a one room schoolhouse from the first to the sixth grade where he and one other little girl were in his grade level. His father was a big, tall, red-headed man who worked hard, trained his children with loving discipline and knew how to hug, laugh and love his kids. Dad tells of summers working in the fields, of his dad taking a watermelon and cooling it in the creek until noon when they stopped for rest; he then broke it open, handed large chunks to the boys and they all enjoyed the sweet meat as the sticky juice ran down their arms. Grandpa took his family to the small local Methodist church on Sundays. Sometimes the circuit preacher was there for service and on those Sundays when he was elsewhere, they had their own makeshift service with one of the congregation leading. This was usually a relative as Shouse Chapel seemed to always run 29 in church and over half were relatives. (Click "read more" to continue with story and pictures)

Yes, Dad was raised with loving discipline by a father who lived his faith and values. Two of the boys continued in the family farm tradition. Dad and his older brother went to college and worked their own way through. Dad washed dishes and worked on the college farm to pay for his education. He met my "city girl" mother in college and they were married 55 years ago this June. Dad became a minister and a couple of years later, along I came.

My dad, like his father, raised his two children with loving discipline. He was definitely "hands on". Mom taught school to help with finances so it was Dad who gave me ginger ale and dried toast for the stomach flu, and came to any school functions during the daytime hours. He taught me to ride a bicycle and drive a car. He resuscitated my almost frozen pet chick with a warm hot water bottle, flannel cloth and oven incubator and took in that little dachshund puppy the little girl was trying to give away on her way to school. He has build three luxury dog houses for our mutts, countless garage and attic shelves, pantries, personages, churches, and bird houses.

Now he fills a void in my daughter's life. He has taught her by his example when she had no other example and she adores her grandpa. He has slowed down, his reflexes and stamina hampered by a cardiac arrhythmia. He naps each afternoon in his chair with FOX News in the background. But he still loves to read the comics, especially the Family Circus; he still is the favorite Sunday School teacher for the "older adult class" and he still does the occasional crazy thing. Here he sips his melted ice cream with his straw, "to make sure I get it all."

I have the most loving father on the planet. He has loved my mother for 55 years. He is supportive of his children's dreams and hopes and he is a proud grandpa to his one granddaughter. He is also most tolerant of our crew of cats and one very sly con artist of a dog.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

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