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Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 21, 2015: Father's Day

     I got a text from my son at 8:45 this morning; that's 7:45 where he lives, so I was impressed that he thought of me so early in the morning. He was wishing me a Happy Father's Day, and I really appreciated it. I just got back from Houston a couple of weeks ago, so we had been able to see each other for a while then.
     That's the kind of relationship that I have always had with him, though. We always had time, or made time if it was important, to talk to each other. We have had our problems in life over the years, and I always knew that I could pick up the phone and talk it over with him. I'd offer advice if he was looking for it, or just let him vent if that was more what he needed, but if no one else in the world was available, we always knew that we had each other.
     As he was growing up, we were inseparable, there for each other whether it was a ride he needed to school or someone to show up for moral support when I was singing a new solo at the church. Even when things got rough and I left Houston and moved away, he stood by me, never judging, ever accepting me, warts and all. The thing I miss the most in life is the time we got to spend with each other and the way he included me in his daily affairs.
     My dad and I did not have that kind of closeness, but in his own way, he was sure to let us know that he loved us and wanted the best for us. Mom did not work, so that put all the pressure on dad to make enough money to take care of the family, and I have no doubt that it was hard on him. We never lacked anything that we truly needed, and had a nice home with plenty of food and warmth. If there was any regret that I have about growing up, I wish that I could have spent more personal time with him.
     We had good times, like when he took me deer hunting out in the freezing cold. We went out to a deer lease that someone he knew had and spent the night camping out, arising well before the sun came up. He then took me out to a spot he had picked out with a tree I could climb up in and sit in its fork to watch for deer. It was pitch black, and I believe that if a deer had come up to me, I would not have even seen it. To prove the point, my tree began to shake, and I readied my thirty ought six rifle only to find to my chagrin that it was a cow scratching itself on the side of my tree. It almost seemed like the cow was taunting me, laughing at my inexperience. Shortly later, dad came back to get me, and my hands were so cold that I don't think I could have even pulled the trigger if a trophy buck had walked right up to me. Dad made me hold my hands near the fire until the feeling came back.
     There were the trips back to Monroe, Louisiana, too, where I reconnected with my roots and visited with my grandparents Holloway and all my uncles and cousins. The adventures we had out on their dairy farm were real eye-openers for a city boy like myself, but my cousins were always ready to offer their expertise in country living. Food was amazing, because my grandma was such a great cook who knew how to prepare food for large groups since she had a large family and also worked at the school cafeteria fixing meals for all the students.
     My fondest memory of my dad was when I visited him one day out in Eagle Lake, and we got in his pickup truck to run an errand. He started the truck, then paused for a minute, and said, "I think I've decided that you are going to be all right." I hadn't realized that there was a question about the matter until that point, but I recognized that this was high praise indeed coming from him. It meant a great deal to me to hear him say it, and is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
     Dad is still around at the age of 85, and as active as a person might want to be at that age. He attends church regularly, does odd jobs for members of the community, and undertook what seemed to me to be a massive task of building from scratch a beautiful dining room table and chairs. The craftsmanship that he has put into this table is top-notch, and I can't imagine how much it would cost to buy such a piece of art at a retail store.
     These are the two men in my life that I am most proud of. They are both good, decent people who have worked hard all their lives and striven to rise to the top of their fields. They have loved their families and made sure to provide more than enough for them to thrive and succeed in this world. They are godly men, and serve in their respective churches as needed and go the extra mile to help others in life who are in need. They are indeed men to be proud of.
     Dad, and son: May God bless you in everything that you attempt, and watch over your every step that you may not suffer in any way. I love you both and blossum in my own life because of the strengths and characteristics that I see in you.

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