Today is no ordinary day at the rabbit patch-today is my fathers’ eighty third birthday. People like to brag on their family, and I am no different. . .but believe me, I have every right to. There is no need to exaggerate as the truth is sufficient and proves my point, that I come from nobility. He was born on March 15th, 1935.
Daddy grew up on “back roads.” Money was scarce, which meant food and clothing were too. His father was loved by all and handsome, but terribly undependable as a father. Daddy does not hold it against him, and so I do not either. . .still this left it all up to Grandmama to raise her four children -and she did . There were no government programs in those days and Grandmama did not not drive. Somehow, she raised four children, and everyone of them are honorable people. Daddy has an older brother, a younger sister and a younger brother.
He walked to school and carried his shoes,, so as not to wear them out. Even as a young child, he worked on the farm performing tasks like a grown man. He made good grades in school and in high school, was urged to go to college and become a writer. That was never an option for a very poor country boy. Instead, he joined the army. He excelled in sharp shooting and somehow mechanics, becoming a helicopter mechanic that tended the helicopters for President Eisenhower . I suppose hunting rabbits and keeping old tractors running paid off in the long run.
Daddy had high expectations for his children. We were expected to be courteous and respectful. We were to do our best in school. We learned to work and not to be wasteful . . .and we always had well made shoes. He was a strict father and needless to say, saved me from a lot of foolishness when I was a teenager. Daddy was dependable. . . and still is.
I have a notebook, that I record the details of Daddys’ life in. The collection of memories make me cry and yet fill my heart with pride, a few pages later.
Next week, the family will gather to celebrate Daddy and Christians’ birthdays. Today, my sister, Connie took him out to eat and treated him to a shopping trip. I stopped by after work with a gift and treats.
Of all the blessings this life affords, a loving family certainly trumps most. Parents teach us, care for us and sacrifice til it becomes habit. My daddy has done all of that for me. . .but above and beyond that, the “sermon he wears in his shoes” has been a mighty force in my life. Throughout my childhood, Daddy helped me catch glimpses of the Father by the way he lived -and the way he loved. He took away some of the mystery of the “Heavenly Father” day by day-and of all the things Daddy gave me . . .that has made the difference.
Who knew, that deep inside, a poor little boy walking on a back road, carrying his shoes-and probably hungry, lay the heart of a warrior? . . .a mind intelligent enough to overcome the odds? Who would have known, they were looking in the face of nobility ?
Happy Birthday, Daddy!