“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” Exodus 20:12
Today is Father’s Day and all over the country, families will celebrate with cards, gifts, phone calls and gatherings. For many, however, there is no father. Some have never known theirs; others see him infrequently, through bars, or lost him too soon.
I was five years old when I lost my father to a brain aneurysm; he was 32 years old. Although, I don’t have many memories of my childhood, I do have memories of my daddy. I remember laughter, a tight-knit family, and a sense of security. My daddy had a fun, mischievous side to him and he loved us.
A memory I will always cherish is the Sunday me and my two sisters misbehaved in church, or so mom said. We were warned, “You just wait until your father gets home.” Daddy closed the door to our bedroom, removed his belt and told us, “Girls, when I hit the bed I want you to cry real loud.” He gave that bed the spanking of a lifetime and satisfied mom’s demand we be punished. Our suppressed giggles and the smile on my daddy’s face will stay with me always.
I also remember the day he got sick and the last time I saw him in his hospital bed, just before surgery. Alert and smiling, he hugged and kissed each one of us. He told us he loved us and to be good to mama. Daddy died on the operating room table before the surgery began. I remember my cousin lifting me over the casket, sitting in our family living room, to kiss him goodbye. Losing him was a tremendous loss, but it would be years before I realized the magnitude.
Recently, I reconnected with some of my cousins on daddy’s side and we visited my 93-year-old Aunt, daddy’s only remaining sibling. With a crystal clear mind, she shared stories with me. She validated those early memories and gave me a few new ones to cherish. My aunt told me, he was a good man and “crazy about your mama and all of you kids.” It is something I knew deep in my heart even as a child.
Daddy, I honor you today for the father you were to me, my sisters, and brother. I did not have you long, but you left a lasting impression on the woman I have become. Thank you for the image of making mom laugh. Thank you for the Sunday’s at Grandma’s and always stopping by the State line store to spend the silver dollar Papa gave to each of us. I remember what you always said as you pulled to a stop in front of the store, “I bet that money’s burning a hole in your pocket.” Thanks Daddy for letting me help you wash your car, play in the snow and not spanking me for getting in the hen-house. Thank you for the memories of love, Daddy and showing me, once upon a time the true meaning of family. .
Happy Father’s Day,
I love you