Honoring Dad –
I can’t tell you about the very first time that I met my father, but I recall hearing Dad tell the story numerous times throughout my life. I was quite premature, and he could “set my butt in the palm of his hand and rest my head between his forefinger and his middle finger.” The awe in which he made that statement always reflected the awareness with just how delicate life is. For clarification purposes, Dad wasn’t some 6-foot-9-inch basketball player with gigantic skull crushing hands. He was a humble 5’10” brown haired blue-eyed salesman with a huge smile, weighing in at roughly 170 pounds most of his adult life. How terribly horrifying it must have been to be responsible for such a tiny human, but Dad never indicated that he had any fear of that fatherly duty. He was proud of his boy and treated me as such his entire life.
Even though his statute wasn’t towering, his character and personality was. Dad never knew a stranger. Whether it was the cashier at the grocery store or the mechanic changing the oil in his car, he always took the time to ask how they were doing and how their day was going. I still don’t know how Dad knew someone in every single town in every single state that we ever visited. And if he didn’t know you, he sure acted like he did because at that moment in time, you were the most important person on the planet to him. That attitude was consistent across all ages, genders, and colors. He would open doors for young black gentlemen while addressing them as “sir” and elderly white senior citizens while addressing them as “ma’am.” Dad didn’t see people from the outside but took time to see their heart and who they were on the inside…recognizing that all people had something special to give to the world.
Dad appreciated the small moments in life as well and always took the opportunity to make you smile with a goofy one liner. When my kids were going through school, he would ask them questions like, “Did you study your gozentas today?” When their confusing glances caught his attention, he would take time to explain that “two gozenta four two times, three gozenta nine three times.” After a few years, they picked up on his mild-mannered attempts at division and just rolled right along with him as they responded with statements like, “Man, Doddah…those gozentas are getting tougher the older I get.” Everybody in the family knew Dad as “Doodah,” as he wanted to make sure that when they thought about him that they would remember those upbeat positive lyrics from Louis Armstrong “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay…My, oh my, what a wonderful day.”
No day could have been wonderful, however, without his faith. Dad taught me that this world can shake you all the way down to the core and, without a solid foundation, your house could get rocked beyond all belief. He taught me that instead of your house getting rocked, build it upon The Rock – Jesus Christ. For a foundation in Him is one that can’t be shaken.
Dad, the lessons that you taught me and our family and the example that you set for us will never be forgotten. Until we meet again, I love you and will carry your torch forward. Happy Father’s Day, Pops.
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