Saturday, June 17, 2017

Before He Was Our Dad

That's our dad above. It's a picture of a picture so it isn't a terrific example of photographic excellence. When Dad's brother, our Uncle Monroe, died several months ago, Aunt Julia went through their side of the family photos and sent me some of our father as a young man. I don't really comprehend him as a kid. He just sprung into my life full grown without the benefit of birth, infancy, childhood, or adolescence. He was just, well, Dad.

Last week, I spent some time with one of Dad's longtime friends. He told me he always was jealous of our father's perfect diction. The friend had grown up as the child of a coal miner who did not stress language while Dad grew up with Grandpa Hawley, a minister and perhaps the preeminent high school debate coach in the state of Michigan. Dad loved words and wanted, as Mom did, to make sure we did as well. Because of their example, we do. And so many other facets of their qualities and characteristics are ingrained several generations down the line, especially to love God. What parents teach is what their grandchildren learn. At least, it worked that way with us.

This morning as I was going through the checkout line at WALMART, the cashier at the next register wished me a Happy Father's Day! I replied thanks but I don't have kids! She responded with a nice compliment which left me with kind of a glow as I walked out with my groceries. What's funny is I remember zero Father's Days growing up. My recall commences when I began working basketball camp at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee every June and July. For fifteen consecutive years, I would be coaching and I would call Dad on a dorm pay phone on Father's Day which
is the nearest thing to a tradition I have. As he got older, and as I did, too, I started calling him every day. They often weren't long conversations but we touched base which became more important as Alzheimer's stole Mom away from Dad. But these talks are precious to me now, more so than when we were actually conversing. Dad would always end our calls by telling me he loved me. In flawless English, of course. The Ten Commandments told us to honor our fathers and mothers. Ineptly, I did the best I could. We miss you, Dad.

Applicable quote of the day:
My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. 
Clarence Kelland

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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