"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
June 11, 2014
Happy Fathers Day
This coming Sunday being Father's Day, I decided to write this week about my Daddy. As I sat down and started writing, memories of him throughout the years flooded my mind, and I had a difficult time cutting this short. To some of you, it may seem like a bunch of ramblings -- and some of it probably is! But I wanted to take this opportunity to honor my dad and to encourage us all to think about the type of legacy we'll leave behind.
Daddy was not a hugger; he wasn't one to say "I love you"; didn't ever say that he was proud of us; and never spoke of how he felt about any of us girls. We knew that he loved us, but it wasn't because he said the words or gave us hugs or kisses. Generally, anytime we got a hug from Daddy it was because we initiated it. He would hug us back, but he just wasn't one to freely give them out.
Growing up, it seemed as if Daddy had a lot of rules, at times, and it really wasn't something we argued about with him; that's just the way it was. Looking back, I'm not sure how many were things that Daddy really felt strongly about, or how many were because Granny Horton lived close by and it was easier to have us do or not do certain things than to argue with her. For instance, we weren't allowed to wear pants. Our church didn't preach that doctrine and our other relatives wore pants. I've seen pictures of Mama when she was growing up and she had on pants, so I'm pretty sure it wasn't her belief or rule. I'm more of the opinion that it may have had something to do with Granny Horton's belief and it not being worth the argument.
Daddy didn't want us to go to movies, play cards, or go anywhere that liquor was served. I'm not talking about a liquor store, but places such as the bowling alley, for example. He didn't want us being around it or around people who were drinking.
The one time that I remember openly disagreeing with him about anything was when our church rented the skating rink. Linda, Janie, and I were the only ones still at home and we wanted to go, but he didn't want us to, for whatever reason. He sat outside on the front porch for hours that night, I'm sure worrying about what to do. In hindsight, Mama had already passed away and he may have been worried that he would let us do something that she wouldn't have wanted and felt alone in making this parenting decision.
I can honestly say though, that I can't remember ever resenting Daddy for the decisions he made as a father. Even though we may not have been able to do things that others our age could do, we loved Daddy and respected him and didn't fight and argue with him or rebel when he said no. And if I do say so myself, he raised five mighty fine girls, who all turned out pretty great!
Perhaps it was because he was an example to us in what being a godly father was. He didn't send us to church, but went with us. He didn't have us pray at night, but he knelt down in the living room floor and had family prayer with us. He didn't expect more out of us than what he expected from himself. He was honest and a hard worker. He had a good reputation in the community and was respected. Daddy was quieter and preferred not to have attention drawn to himself. It wasn't him being outgoing and a leader that brought about respect, but it was his consistency and solidness.
My cousin, Steve, wrote this a while back for a family memory book regarding my dad: "One memory I have of Doyal, I think, says a little about the man he was. For some reason I was helping him get his milk cow in the lot and she didn't want to go. We chased her back and forth and even through the garden until Doyal decided she needed a good kick as she ran past. He got her pretty good and fell down in the process. Afterwards, he was a little embarrassed and apologetic. He felt he had not set a very good Christian example for his nephew. I think he was a good example of a Christian man and to this day I haven't kicked a cow. I don't blame him for wanting to kick something. It couldn't have been easy living with all those girls."
People have joked about Daddy having a houseful of girls, with no sons, and how tough that must have been for him. But in all truthfulness, Daddy loved it -- he really did!
Daddy did care about his example and never wanted anyone to think he was dishonest or had taken advantage of them. He hauled sandstone and creek rock for several years for various contractors that were used for the outside of houses and for fireplaces. Janie and I remember going with him sometimes to help load the rock. A full load was the flatbed truck full, stacked four layers high. The rocks had to be "pretty" and flat enough so that the contractors could easily lay them. If Daddy didn't like one of our rocks, he'd throw it off the truck. Furthermore, he would round the truck up in the middle to make sure they got their full load. He was very conscientious about having an honest reputation.
Daddy also really enjoyed reading, as did all my family. We would sit around in the evenings and read, if we weren't out visiting family or had someone visiting us or at church. One time, Daddy had one of his nephews helping him haul rock, because the family needed the extra money at that time. He felt like this particular nephew struggled with his reading and wanted to encourage him. Daddy liked reading Louis L'amour westerns, so started taking one of his books and leaving it in the truck seat. This teenage nephew started picking up the books and reading them as they drove down the highway, and Daddy would let him borrow it to take home to finish reading.
One time after Daddy and June got married, a water line to the old trailer I was living in busted during winter. I ended up having to stay with them for a few weeks until Daddy could get it fixed. We got a big snow storm, which prolonged my stay. During that time, I got the sickest that I have ever been in my life! For 3-4 days I couldn't keep anything down, even water, and was running a fever of 104. There were several inches of snow, and they lived a few miles off the main highway on a dirt road, so they couldn't get out to take me to the doctor; which I was too sick to get out of bed and go anyway. I remember waking up occasionally and seeing Daddy standing in the bedroom doorway watching me. Even though he didn't say much, I knew that he was concerned and worried about me. If he saw me open my eyes, he would ask if there was anything he could get me, then would clear his throat and go to the other room.
Hearing my dad clear his throat was always an indication of emotion to me and my sisters. No one else may have known or understood, but we knew when he was upset or worried or didn't know what to say, he would clear his throat. If we said, "I love you, Daddy," he would generally clear his throat and say, "Yeah." If he got emotional, he would clear his throat.
We usually always knew where Daddy stood on issues. He had very strong beliefs and opinions, and would stick by them and let you know what he thought; sometimes whether you asked his opinion or not. He had strong convictions and a strong sense of what was right or wrong, and wasn't easily swayed. If he thought something was wrong, you weren't going to easily convince him otherwise.
Daddy passed away in September of 2009. I miss him! I miss him calling to ask if we got rain; or asking if I planted a garden; or telling me when someone, I may or may not have known, died. In the summertime, every time I pass a hay field and see a tractor, I think of Daddy. When I see someone doing dozer work (which Daddy did when I was a kid), I think of Daddy. Daddy always wore overalls and wore his hat at an angle kind of tilted to one side; and I miss seeing him like that.
But I can just imagine that early Tuesday morning when Daddy entered Heaven, hearing God tell him, "Welcome home, my good and faithful servant", and Daddy responding by clearing his throat and saying, "Yeah."
We each have memories of our father; and sadly there are those who don't have the good memories that I have.
Dads, how will your children remember you? What kind of impression are you leaving upon your kids and grandchildren, and what type of legacy will you leave? You men who may not be a father, there are still those whom you have the potential to influence, so you still have a responsibility. Even if you've failed in the past, that doesn't excuse you from changing and making a difference in their lives in the future. This world needs godly men who love God, love their family, and love others; and are consistent examples of that.
In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul is writing a letter to encourage Timothy and tells him to not let anyone think less of him because he was young. We may read that and think that doesn't apply to us, because we may or may not be young! But the second half of the verse applies to each of us; whether or we are male or female:
"Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity."
People in the world today need examples of godly men and women that they can emulate and respect. Holding fast to principles and beliefs and faith can be tough at times, because it seems as if few others really care. It often feels as if everyone wants to hear things that "tickle their ears" and make them feel good about themselves and their decisions; both good and bad, godly and sinful. But God is looking for those who will hold fast to their faith, regardless of what the world says or thinks, and be consistent in their love for Him and for others.
I want to leave an imprint on this world for God. I want others to think of me with respect and honor; both when I'm alive and after my death. Daddy wasn't perfect and had flaws; but he lived his life holding fast to his faith and his convictions, and he is remembered with honor and respect for that. Even though I'm not perfect, and make mistakes, and speak before I think at times, and don't always have a good attitude, and am often impatient...... I want my faith in God to shine through first and foremost and that to be what others see in me. It's a process and I'm still a work in progress!
I pray that each of you will also have that desire to let your light shine so that others will see the Father in you and glorify Him.
I guess I'll share some memories of my Dad, too. He was also very well respected with our family, neighbors, and work colleagues.
I only remember one time he yelled. That was when a neighbor laughed while his dog chased my sister down the street. Even then, he didn't do anything rash or disrespectful. He called the neighbor, and let him know very clearly (and loudly) that if he let his dog out again, he would have Animal Control take the dog.
He also set good rules for us, but gave us freedom when we needed it. One of those times, my best friend and I wanted to dig a tunnel between our back yards (crossing about 3 other yards). He let us, and even pointed out where the shovels were. We were shocked, but started digging. We hit water about 2 inches below the surface. Then it made sense why he was so easy.
Aunt Ruth's Homemade Banana Ice Cream
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 quart half-n-half
pinch of salt
3/4 ripe bananas
Beat eggs, sugar and salt well; add vanilla and half-n-half. Mash bananas and add; mix well. Pour into freezer bucket and add milk to fill line. Freeze according to instructions on ice cream freezer.
When I was a little girl I loved eating sausage for breakfast. One time I told Daddy that I wish he would buy a hog and make all the meat into sausage. I also remember him laughing at me!
My favorite nightly snack was a scrambled egg when I was little. Every night I would go into the refrigerator and get an egg, go into the living room where my mom was, holding the egg behind my back, and say, "Guess what I have?" Of course you could see the refrigerator from our living room so I'm sure she wasn't too surprised. I still have the little old pan that she used to scramble my eggs in at night. Apparently, that made an impression on my sisters. My oldest sister told me once that sometimes after church on Sunday nights she and my brother-in-law will scramble eggs to eat. They will get an egg and hold it behind their back and say, "Guess what I have?!" My goodness, that just now made me laugh when I typed that, picturing them doing that!
This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)
Some days rejoicing and being glad is a choice we each have to make.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon