This weekend is our annual celebration of Father's Day. A day to honor and remember our dads. To honor the memory of my dad who passed away seven years ago, I'd like to tell you a bit about him.
My dad was born in 1925, December the 29th. In fact, we always tried to make his birthday special because, as most people who have a birthday around the holidays have experienced, Christmas gifts often get combined with birthday gifts! But fortunately many of those birthdays were shared with Daddy due to going "home" to Virginia for the holiday.
One of the many attributes I remember was Dad's ability to fix anything, make most anything and never hired out for work to be done in the yard or house. He was just amazing in all those categories. For instance, Mama would see a Christmas decoration made out of wood that she would like to own; Dad would come home and make it. I once started painting birdhouses and Dad decided he would make the birdhouses and then paint a few himself! (All the grandchildren got one of those, by the way). And then there was one night Daddy wanted cake to eat, so he got in the kitchen and made a cake!
I especially remember the day he took me out to the garage and showed me how to change a tire on my car. He said he didn't want me in a position where I needed to wait for assistance because women needed to know these things!
Daddy never readily said he loved me when I was growing up. I don't know why, but when I got married it all changed. I've never lived close to my parents from the day I married, but each time I came home and got ready to leave, Daddy had tears in his eyes. From that point on, he hugged me and told me he loved me when I'd leave.
I will always remember when Gary and I married and moved to Idaho, Daddy helped box a lot of my things. One of the items was a ceramic Christmas tree that I display each year. When I opened the box (in April) there was a big note that said, "I love you...Dad". I sat in the living room and cried my eyes out. I so missed home at that very moment and having Dad's availability just down the road.
There were countless hours spent on Mom and Dad's screened in porch each morning drinking coffee. In fact, it often went into lunchtime while we sat and talked about life. Often we spoke about the things of Christ and living the Christian life and anytime I had a question or came up on a particular bump in the road, I would ask his opinion. He never disappointed with food for thought. In fact, when it came time to choose a cover for my second devotional book, Daddy picked out the cover and added why it would be his choice. It instantly made sense to me because I considered my Dad a wise man.
Gospel music, wow how Daddy loved gospel quartet music! Each Sunday morning he'd be in the bathroom shaving, getting ready for church and be whistling those gospel tunes. He loved to sing and sang in several gospel quartets. He even wrote a song that was recorded when sung at his funeral. I can hear his voice in my mind when certain songs are played and/or sung in church.
I'm not saying Daddy was perfect. He was opinionated and during a discussion he'd give you a run for your money with the reasons why his idea or opinion was the best. However, I saw him mellow through the years. I heard him apologize for past mistakes, tell me many times the things he wished he'd done for Gary and our family when we were struggling with two little ones.
But Daddy loved us; my mother, whom he wouldn't hardly let out of his sight; us kids and especially all the grandchildren. I can still see Daddy swinging on the porch with Nicholas by his side just talking. I have no idea what they talked about, but they would spend hours out there. And all those times Kimberly sat on his lap...even as she became a young woman. As one person commented, "You're never too old to sit on Papa's lap." From the time she was a little thing, she would crawl up in Papa's lap and just be close to him.
He always tried to impart his knowledge to us, the things only time and experience can teach, but the one thing I will always remember is listening to Daddy pray with Mama every morning. Daddy would pray for each one of us, calling us by name and asking God to lead us all to the foot of the Cross. He would name whatever struggle we had shared and ask the Lord to show us how to handle it. My dad was a child of God and I know in my heart that he is rejoicing this Father's Day with our heavenly Father God.
I love you, Dad and I miss you. I could use some of that experienced wisdom. As Mama said to you when the Lord led you home, "Don't walk too fast because I'm coming." I'll meet you at the gate of heaven, Daddy, where we'll sing forever in the heavenly choir! Happy Father's Day, Love "Miss Cook"!
Lord, thank you for dads who are trying their best to live for you and be the best fathers they can be this side of heaven. The sacrifices made, the love extended unconditionally, the faith shown and deeds done for Jesus Christ, may prayers that have been lifted bring honor to our Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Judith "Cookie" White is the founder of The Sounding Board Ministry. She is the author of two devotional books which are available on this site.