My Dad is the one squatting with all his friends surrounding him It is crazy how much my son looks like him here.
My dad used to always play the guitar and sing to me…. I think he knew all of five songs! One of them was: “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should” from the commerical. He used to tease me all the time.
He never felt comfortable going to church or getting his pictures taken… You can tell he wasn’t too thrilled here.
I do remember he came to church when I got Baptized. After he died I prayed for God to give me a peace about knowing he was indeed saved and with The Lord… and at that very moment I found the sweetest letter my dad had written in the Air Force about God to my mom. Isn’t God great?!
My dad and I at the County Fair
I remember getting the phone call on the day that my dad died. It was that kind of surreal unexpected horrific “Kennedy moment” that I will never forget. Heart attacks are like that. They are filled with unsaid goodbyes and conversations that ache to be finished even three decades later. The one thing that I will always have is the way that my Daddy loved my writing. He always encouraged it and believed in me. One of his last letters to me mentioned it and in the end, written words from me were my last connection with him.
My dad died July 9, 1983. My son had just turned 3 and barely had a chance to know his papa but I remember how tickled my dad was when he taught him to play pacman and his 3 year old grandson got to BABY PACMAN! And I am so that he never got to meet my daughter who was not yet born, though I do have an inkling that he might have hand chosen her in heaven if God lets dads do that kind of thing! There was just so many things I still wanted to say to my dad but it was too late. Today it is funny to think that I am now older than my dad was when he died. You’d think I would have learned the life lesson about goodbyes and always doing it in love. I guess that may be the reason that I tend to try to say “I love you” every time I say goodbye now.
I’d been a Daddy’s girl as I was growing up. He was the one who used to take me shopping for school clothes every year. It is strange now but I don’t remember my mom ever going clothes shopping with me. I guess because it was OUR thing, my daddy’s and mine. We had a great relationship. He was the one I’d talk to about boys and the one in my life that I cared most about not disappointing or always wanting to make him proud. He had the kind of quiet integrity that in the end, filled up the chapel to standing room only where his services were held.
When our Pastor asked us if there was something I’d like him to talk about regarding my dad, I remembered that I’d written him a Father’s Day card a few weeks earlier. So I ran up to see if I could find it. Sure enough he’d saved it in the drawer by his bedside. I will always be grateful that I had the chance to give him this last message…. I know he didn’t just read it once. It still comforts me that I know he knew even without a poem. But in memory of today and him I wanted to share it with “YOU” my friends here today. This one is for you Daddy!
No one could ever fill the shoes I once put over mine,
lost within your slippers, my feet were hard to find.
Yes, your overwhelming presence was felt within your shoes…
A feeling so great, though I’m grown, I know I’ll never lose.
Each night when you’d walk in the door from working hard all day,
a security would fill me up and push all my cares away.
And though I’m now a mother with a small one of my own
I’ll always look back upon the days before I was fully grown…
And when I’m with him on the beach, sometimes it brings to mind
stepping within your footprints as I’d follow close behind
I pray that now that I’m the one followed by little feet
I’ll leave half the footprints I found within your feet.