Sunday, June 19, 2011

Daddy Do All

The two best Dads I know.
     I was fortunate enough to be raised by one of the best fathers in the world. I cannot remember a time when his gentle advice and manner did not weigh, consciously or subconsciously, in my decision making. His earliest advice to me was, “Gasoline will not burn you.” I did not believe him at the time. I was five and had decorated my arms in oil-based paint. It dried before I was discovered, so Daddy called for Mama to bring him some gas. When he explained that he would be using it to wash the paint off of my arms, I bolted. Gasoline was used to run cars, and I was fairly certain from overheard bits and pieces of adult conversation that burning was somehow involved. Therefore gasoline would catch my arms on fire. The paint would be gone but so would my arms. I ran down the street with Daddy in hot pursuit. He yelled promises of ice-cream and Chatty Cathy dolls if the gas burned me, but I didn’t believe him. Finally, a neighbor snagged me and hauled me kicking and screaming to my father who gently applied the gasoline and removed the paint. If I had been smarter I would have hollered bloody murder and scored a doll and dessert, but he was right. Gasoline did not burn. Daddy didn’t lie
     My mama was every bit as smart and wise as my daddy, but I was a sullen teen and didn’t fully realize her amazing gifts until I had my first child. Mainly I was jealous of her because she was too cool and way too young looking and all of my friends liked her too much. It was Daddy I turned to in my teen years. He took me shopping for dresses and told me truthfully what looked good and what didn’t. He climbed the stairs to my bedroom when he heard me upstairs sobbing because I was overwhelmed with all my activities and talked me through prioritizing and trimming my schedule. When I grew old enough to date, Daddy told me some of the lies boys might use to convince me to climb in the back seat of a car and then gave me a dime to call him if I needed a ride home.
     But Daddy didn’t just give good advice. He was a prankster. When I had friends over to spend the night and we traipsed down to our dark basement for séances and Oujia Boards, Dad would sneak out to the small window with a flashlight and at just the right moment shine it upwards on his face and laugh maniacally. It scared the bejeezus out of us every time. On Halloween, he would conspire with all of us on our annual family haunted house. He devised countless ways of startling the neighborhood children: hanging himself, covered in ketchup, from the ceiling in the living room or rising up from a box shaped like a coffin, dark circles painted under his eyes, and cackling in an ungodly falsetto.
     He told us Paul Pig stories, which he made up on the spot while we waited out in the parking lot for mama to grocery shop and then, to our everlasting delight, often hid the car right before she came out. We would giggle and point as she pushed her full cart through the lot in search of the old blue Chevy. To her credit, Mama was always game and laughed along with us when she finally located her silly brood.
     When I grew up and moved away, Daddy’s other gifts revealed themselves. In addition to the coveted title of “Daddy Do All” he earned the name, “Electric Man” with the catchy motto, “Daddy’s hands make lights work.” He helped wire the house Joe and I restored and re-wired the farm house down the road. His gifts applied to our outbuildings make me feel safer at night when I go out to feed the dogs. One flick of a switch dispels the darkness.
     Daddy is still dispensing good advice, wiring the world and building furniture to order for all of us. He and Mama make it a priority to let each of us children know we are special and loved. They model God’s unconditional love daily.

So, here’s a shout out to my Dad (and mom). Happy Father’s Day to the Bestest Daddy Ever I Saw.

1 comment:

  1. Your father sounds like an amazing man! In fact, he sounds a lot like my grandfather was. What would we be without good, strong, kind, and funny men in our lives?


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