Tomorrow is Father’s Day. I have the last gift I gave to my Dad in my possession now. It’s a brass key fob that says “A Father Leads With Love”. That was certainly true of my Dad. I respected him and obeyed him because I loved him, never because I was afraid of him. I never doubted his love, although he wasn’t one to use words to express it until later on in his life. When I went to college he was forced into verbalizing things–I still have a Valentine’s card he sent that has a giant “X” next to where he signed it. Accompanying it was a giant Hershey’s kiss. I still have the paper streamer in my Bible.
His humor was a delight–charming, boyish…a little bit “Cosby”. He was one of the most industrious people I know. Even on his day off he was renovating rooms, sewing new curtains or slip covers for the furniture, or putting a new roof on the house. He loved people, and knew no strangers. He had integrity. There was never a day I wasn’t proud of him.
Dad was generous with hugs and “smooches”. He had a tender heart, but I only saw him cry once–on my wedding day. As soon as he put on the tux (the only one he ever wore…he always promised he’d do it for me), a stoicism took over. You can see it in the photos…stiff upper lip. As I took his arm at the top of the aisle, I could feel him choking back the emotion. I knew if I so much as glanced in his direction, it was all over. We made it through the ceremony, and when they led the guests through the receiving line he took my face in his burly hands and melted into sobs. My Daddy. I loved him devotedly. Still do. I’ll see him again.