That is what I call my Dad. That is now what my niece and nephew call him.
When I wrote about my Mamma for Mother’s Day, I thought to myself, “words. These are just words. They do not do her justice.” Now I naturally have the same thoughts as I try to pen something in honor of my father.
As a Texas outdoors man with three daughters, he raised us the way he knew how. With a love and respect for the outdoors and God’s creation. We get our love of Texas and dogs from him. He taught us how to fish and hunt and how to be good stewards. To sit around the fire pit, watch the sunset, and contemplate life.
He worked his butt off for us. Honestly, I am where I am today because of everything he has done. One time when I was younger, on our way to south Texas, I asked him what exactly he does for a living. The resulting explanation and conversation lasted longer than the five hour plus drive.
His friends tell me, among many things, how he is a fine sportsman and not your average CPA. I certainly always knew the first one. That last one always makes me laugh to myself. He is a socks and Birkenstock kind of guy sometimes, even if Mamma tells him he should not wear that.
He allows us to be who we are and celebrates it. It is no wonder I march to the beat of my own drum and can seem by some respects as a walking, talking oxymoron.
When I was little, he would tuck me in at night while we sang the Lord’s Prayer together. I can’t sing it any other way than the way we sang it. (Side story, Nephew H once told me I sang it wrong because it was not the way his mother sang it to him at bed time. I laughed and halfheartedly told him he sang it wrong.)
I learned how to be safe around horses from him. To love the country and agriculture. To drive and pull trailers.
More than once he took me out of school to head to the hunting lease with one of the dogs. Just the three of us. I thought that was the coolest thing.
He taught me how to fish with a top water and then proceeded to tell me that if I cast it that far out there, I would have a hard time setting the hook. I just smiled as I turned and said, “like this?!” as I hooked a big speckled trout. I can still hear him saying, “keep your rod tip up.” For years, his reward for teaching us to love fishing, we got to land every fish he caught while he untangled our crossed lines. Luckily for him, we can now catch our own fish without tangling our lines. To this day, fishing is my second most favorite thing to do next to riding horses.
On our way to church, we would drive a certain way to go over this train track on a hill because we thought it was fun. It was on top of a big hill in my memory, but it is not a very big hill at all in adult reality. Anyway, we got a kick out of it to drive really fast and bounce up and down in our seats over the tracks. We would laugh and yell. On the way home, we would stop at the filling station to get a Big Gulp. That’s a fountain Coke for all you people that do not know.
Often times, he would let me pick the route we drove home from the farm. Crisscrossing our way through the countryside on the back roads with the windows down. Just listening to music, enjoying the country, and delaying getting back to town. Then we would stop and get a chocolate cinnamon milkshake to share before we got home. We would throw the evidence away before Mom could find out. Although, I am sure she always knew.
One weekend he did laundry at least three times at the farm as my friend and I slid down the muddy slope of a hill into the pond over and over spreading wild flower seeds for him.
To celebrate him, we will do what we do. Have a family dinner. Listen to music. Thank the Lord while Pops says the prayer.
I know days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be hard for some who’s parents are no longer with us in this life. Indeed it makes it hard right now to even write these words. The thing is though, they are all still here with us in our hearts. In what they taught us. In their memories. Never far away. And you will see them again one day, in their finest form.
What is your favorite memory with the father from your life?
Walk in love, dear readers! Peace, love, and joy.