Sunday, June 15, 2014

I Remember Daddy.... Part 4

This is forth in a series of friends’ fond memories of their dads and the lessons that they learned from them. I hope that you have enjoyed them as much as i have enjoyed collecting them...(see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.  Happy Father's Day.  bd

JED reminisced, “Several memories come to mind.  As far as I know, dad never played organized sports of any kind and yet he would throw the baseball with me when I played Little League.  Looking back, I realize that you don’t have to be good at something, or even like it, to take an interest in what your kids are doing.  I guess that’s why I try to go hunting with my son as much as possible even though he’s way more excited about it than I am."
"I also remember a time when dad went in half on a boat with me.  It was more like 30/70 because I paid $250 for the motor and dad paid $600 for the boat.  He was not an avid fisherman, but I can remember many fun-filled trips to Lake Juliette, even though we didn’t catch very many fish.  Lastly, I remember one fishing trip when I told dad I knew a short cut off Hwy 96 down a dirt roads.  I got turned around and the next thing I know, dad got the old 78 Toyota truck stuck in a mud hole.  We tried everything we could to get that truck out, to no avail.  I never once saw my dad get angry nor did he blame me for getting him lost.  We simply walked until we found some loggers who were kind enough to drive back to our truck and pull us out with a skidder.”

MBR remembered, “When I think back on my childhood the memories that stand out for me is when my Dad was saved. The complete transformation from a drunk and a chain smoker to a man who went to every service he could find and he prayed all the time. He never drank or smoked again after that week. I knew without a doubt then that there was indeed power in the blood of Jesus. Then I remember my grandpa and grandma always prayed for my dad. When I doubt what God can do in my situations I have proof of the power of prayer and of what mighty things God is willing to do for me!”

“We would go by for a visit and we could not carry on a normal conversation, but when someone began to talk about church or the Lord, his eyes would light up and he would raise his voice.  I could understand him then.  The tears flowing from his eyes let me know what he was feeling in his heart.”

JMH said, “Wow! I have so many memories of my Daddy. We were very close. One special memory is of just the two of us getting up before dawn on Saturday mornings. I would “help” him hitch up his fishing boat, load up our gear, and pack stuff for lunch. (Always sardines and white bread just in case we didn’t catch anything big enough to eat.)”

“We’d sit in that boat for hours on end. He’d try to pull up close to a shoreline under some trees whenever possible – after he rattled the branches with the oar to be sure no snakes were napping on them.”

“About noon we would pull into shore. He would build a fire, take out his trusty iron skillet, jar of cornmeal mix and a jar of cooking oil. He’d clean the fish and fry them and hush puppies over the open fire. I can remember watching them fry with anticipation (and hunger). Those fish always tasted better than fish we fried at home somehow.”

“I learned soooo much from my Daddy. Integrity for sure: keep your word no matter what, always tell the truth, always be honest in dealing with other people, do your duty, make hard choices based on right and wrong – not emotions, take care of your family, trust and obey God even when it is hard.”

BTL told me, “I feel that the greatest thing that my dad did for me was to teach me about Jesus. I remember going back to the area where he grew up as a child and experiencing swimming in the springs that he swam in as a child.  I cherish having gone with my dad to visit and pray for the sick, as a very small child. My dad taught me to give my tithe to the Lord, be honest, treat others the way I would want to be treated, and to work hard to provide for my family.  I learned how to fish, change a tire, and yard work from him.” 

“My dad was a very humble person.  He was a great pastor, and he was my best friend”

Until this morning, I had intended to not add my own thoughts since my father died when I was two.  I don't really remember my  Dad.  This morning I am reminded of two things about my Dad.  When his mother died, he spent many years paying off the family debts.  He did this not just because he would inherit the family farm by doing so, but to protect the family name.  The second thing is that he made preparations for his wife and sons in case anything ever happened to him, they would all be protected. 

I hope you have a wonderful Father's Day.  If you still have him, give him a call or go see him.  Feel free to post a fond memory of your dad in the comments 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I Remember Daddy....... Part 3

This is third in a series of friends’ fond memories of their dads and the lessons that they learned from them. Past 1, Part 2   Bill

EPM wrote, “When I think of my daddy, I really don't have one vivid story to recall that sums up in a nutshell the person he is.  Daddy is not known for his dynamic personality or his way with words.  He's always been a man of few words who loved his family, the outdoors and his church.  Two words that he always uses to describe me became my official title whenever he saw me. I am his "sweet baby".  Since I was a little girl, that is what he called me and he still refers to me that way.” 

“I must admit, as an elementary aged child I would sometimes get embarrassed when he would call me that In front of my friends.  On one particular occasion when I was in the second grade, mama told me she was coming to get me early because we were going out of town.  When I realized daddy was also going, I asked if he could come to my class to get me so all my friends could see my daddy.  All the children knew mama because she was always a grade mother, but not everyone knew my daddy and I wanted them to see how wonderful he was!  Well, in those days parents could just come to the classroom to get their children and it just so happened that my teacher was our neighbor, so she welcomed daddy in and introduced him to the entire class.  It was at that point that those two words came out of his mouth, right there in front of about twenty or so of my classmates when he said, "Well, thank you Mrs. Meadows (my teacher).  Come on Sweet Baby, we better get going." 

“My classmates giggled and I was mortified......mama said she could tell as we walked down the sidewalk toward the car, that something was wrong by the way my ponytail was swinging from side to side as I stomped towards her.  I told her what had happened and she assured me that everyone's daddy called them something like that and no harm had been done.  I wasn't so sure, though......I do believe I remember a couple of those pesky little boys in my class calling me that a time or two after the incident.”

“Today nothing has changed.  That sweet, sweet daddy of mine still greets me the same way, although I do believe now some precious grandchildren of his might hold their own title in his heart.  Sweet Baby; it is a title I adore now. Funny how wisdom comes with age.”

LCH wrote, “When I was in grammar school, I had never been to a summer camp and, living in Allentown, there was NOTHING to do in the summertime.  I was a school bus Safety Patrol on my daddy's school bus so one Summer I went to Safety Patrol Camp at Lake Blackshear in Cordele. I was so very homesick and wanted to go home every day, but every day I'd tell myself, I'll call my parents tomorrow, and that's how I got through the week! When we got back to Dublin at the pickup point for parents, my daddy and mama were there, but my daddy just hugged me and was patting me on the back so hard!! At that moment, I realized that he had missed me as much as I had missed them! I can see all that in my mind's eye! I hope that vivid memory never goes away!”

SWM remembered, “My Grandfather was a Christian man, but he was tongue-tied and could not speak very plainly.  He did not know how to show his love or emotions very well, but when I would hug him goodbye, I knew that he loved me.”

To be continued….

Friday, June 13, 2014

I Remember Daddy.... Part 2

This is second in a series of friends’ fond memories of their dads and the lessons that they learned from them. Part 1 Bill

BG told me, “What I remember about my Daddy is that he never raised his voice or his hand toward his children.  He took us to Daytona Beach every year, as he really enjoyed the dog races.  I enjoyed watching the Braves on TV with him.  He was about 48 years old when I was born, so we did not actually do a lot of stuff together.  He would take my mother and me to our favorite fishing spot, then sit and watch until dark when mamma would finally be ready to go.   Finally, I remember being in the hospital room with him while doctors explained to him the operation to remove a brain cancer and seeing tears roll down his face.”

CBG wrote, “My daddy passed away when I was 18 years old and I always think about how much more I would have liked to have known him after my crazy teenage years were over.  What I value and remember most about him was what a hard worker he was and his strength of character.  He was a man of few words but when he did speak, you listened.  A couple of things I believe I learned from him that stands out the most are, you have to keep your word and punctuality.  He always had to be early for an event or appointment, not just on time but a good 30 minutes to an hour ahead of time, never late.  One more thing that comes to mind; he smiled most when children were around.  As I look back after all these years, I remember those were the times I heard him laugh.  I sure do miss him.”

This is what JSM had to say about his dad: “My dad was one of those people that was short with word and did not tell people how much he loved them. One day when he was getting on up in age he and I was sitting around chatting and he told me how he love me. He often put his arms around me but the word love was seldom said.

“I learned from him to be straight up with people and be honest. I love my Dad.  He was a good man.”

To be continued……

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I Remember Daddy.......

Several weeks ago, my Friend, Ben, told me about something his daughter said many years ago.  She crawled up in his lap and said, "Daddy, I Love you"!

Understandably, I am sure that his heart just swelled because of the smile on his face as he told it.

She went on to say, "I love you because you take out the trash and kill all the roaches".

I thought that this was a touching story and it made me think that we don't really know what our children think, nor how what we do and say to them affects their thoughts; their lives.  I decided that during this year's bible school at church, I would ask several children about their fathers and see what kind of response I would get.  I ended up asking adults about their fathers instead.  I asked two questions:
                What is the most vivid memory of your dad, especially when you were small?
                What did you learn from your dad?

I got more answers than I expected and I will share at least some responses here over the next few days.  I will only use their initials, since I did not ask them about publishing their names.

One friend, SWM, said, "When I was a little girl, we didn't have a car.  My daddy was going to walk to the store, which seemed like it was two miles away, (it probably wasn't that far, but it really seemed like a long way to me).   I wanted to go too, so he let me walk with him.  Daddy was a fast walker and I couldn't keep up with him, so I grabbed his back pocket so that I could stay close to him.  I surely must have been thinking, 'daddy, don't walk so fast', but I knew that he was not going to leave me behind."

“My Daddy was a hard-working man.  He only had a 2nd grade education and could only write his name, but not very well.  He never had many earthly possessions, but he was always willing to share what he had, and was always willing to help someone.  He was one of the hardest working men I have ever known, but he didn't really need a lot of money to make him content.  He let my mother pick up his paycheck and would never even ask to see it.  He would let her pay the bills and use the money as she saw fit.  I never remember hearing my daddy ask for anything.”
SB said, “My Dad was my best friend.  I could talk with him anytime about anything and always felt much better, even though he might not always agree with me. He was a very humble man and very dedicated to the ministry.  He taught me the value of a Christian home and the importance of family time.  He loved God first and then his family.  I loved him very much.”

To be continued………….

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Duke and the Great Communicator

Ronald Reagan died 5 June 2004, ten years ago.  I wrote this the week that he died.  I thought the tenth anniversary of his death would be an appropriate time to post it here.  bd

When Ronald Reagan was elected President, Lewis Grizzard wrote, “If America was going to elect an actor as President, they should have done it before John Wayne died.”  

I certainly was not the only one that felt the same way at the time, especially among Georgians. I was not happy that some old actor, from California no less, had beat Jimmy Carter for President and had sent him packing back to Georgia.  Of course, I wasn't happy with how a lot of people treated President Carter.  The press, Washington, Californians made fun of my President.  Even Dan Rather who claims to be from Texas didn't act right by Jimmy Carter to me.

What I really didn't like about Reagan was the fact that he grew on you.  He could “aw shucks” with the best of them.  Many in the media did not like him and tried to make him look bad, but he was an actor.  He knew their game and played it better than they did.  When he didn't want to answer their questions, he could feign deafness and just walk on.  For heaven’s sake, he was 69 years old when he was elected.  He was born on my birthday in the year that my mother was born (Feb. 6, 1911.)  

Ever since Reagan died, the news channels have been running Reagan quotes.  He was one of America’s most quotable presidents.  Many things that he said have stuck with me.  The most memorable to me was when he said, in front of the Berlin wall in 1987, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

The most touching quote that I personally remember was after the Challenger disaster in 1986, “The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”

Looking back, he was a lot smarter that I, and many other people, thought he could possibly be.  He brought honor and a sense of strength and right that had been missing from the Presidency, some of which was lost during Vietnam and the rest during the Nixon administration.  The presidency got bigger during his watch and he filled the job in a manner that made it much harder for those that followed him.

He was the most optimistic President in my lifetime.  He looked for the good, even in America's enemies.  He insisted on America negotiating from a position of strength.  He understood and used humor to convey his message.  His experience in acting honed his skills in conveying a message.  His experience in broadcasting taught him to edit the message to its essence.  But I think the most important elements of Ronald Reagan were his faith in God; his love of Nancy; and his devotion to the success of the cause of freedom and the American way of life.  He governed from principle, not from what he thought would sell to the voters.  He did pick and choose his fights, but he never wavered from what he thought was right.  We all should learn from this.

He was even an optimist for this country when he told us ten years ago that he had Alzheimer’s disease.  He spoke of the future in positive terms.  There was no room for pity in his words.  Little did we know that he was leaving the world stage at that very moment.  Only this last week, we made that departure official.     

When Reagan left office, I said many times that history would be kinder to President Carter than most thought then and not as kind to Reagan as most thought then.  I was wrong about at least part of that.  I mean no disrespect to the memory of Mr. Grizzard, but the Duke couldn’t have possibly done any better than the Great Communicator, Ronald Wilson Reagan, whose grave marker reads:

“I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.”

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

This is Memorial Day weekend.  Some people view Memorial Day as the official start of summer, but it is a lot more than that.  Sometime next Monday, the president or some dignitary standing in for him will lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier to honor the men and women of the military who have died for their country.  We will see pictures of the tombstones at Arlington and other national cemeteries.  Some of us will take time to reflect, but others will be out grilling or boating; just celebrating a three-day weekend. 

A fair amount has been written about the beginning of the tradition of placing flowers on the graves of soldiers.  Some say it was in Savannah or Columbus, GA. Some say it was in Mississippi, or Ohio, or somewhere else.  It does not really matter to me where it started, what we call it or even what day we observe it.  The fact that we take time to stop, reflect and honor those brave men and women who served this country is what really matters to me.

I visited Arlington as a member of a high school band.  I think that we were in Washington DC for a cherry blossom parade.  I do not remember anything about the parade.  What I do remember is seeing all those acres of graves at Arlington National Cemetery; rows and rows of white marble grave markers, each with a cross or star of David.

I also remember seeing the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  I remember the precision of the Army guards of the 3rd Army Infantry Regiment as they silently follow their routine of guarding the tombs, just as they have done since 1937.   He marches down the mat behind the tomb 21 steps, turns east and pauses 21 seconds, turns north and pauses 21 seconds, and then marches 21 steps to the other end of the mat.  He does a similar set of maneuvers to get back to his starting point.   He does this continually until the next soldier relieves him. 

Each precise turn the guard makes is followed by a click of his heels.  I remember it being so quiet there, except for the click of the soldier’s heels; so solemn, so respectful, so American!

I went up to The Bleckley County courthouse and sat on the bench out front on Friday afternoon.   As I sat there, I thought of the Unknown Soldier’s grave.  Somehow, I am afraid that all of us think of Memorial Day as being for ever so many unknown soldiers.  I am so proud of the people that have decorated the grounds of the courthouse for the Memorial Day celebration in Cochran.  They have placed over 50 markers, each with the name of the fallen soldier and the war he fought.  Most of them were crosses.  One had the Star of David.

Each of those markers represents not just a nameless brave soldier, but someone's son, or brother, or father.  A few names are familiar.  There are just a couple that I knew personally, but I am sure that I know the families of many of them.  They are names that I might have known if their lives had not been cut short, but they gave themselves so the ones that they love could live free in the country that they held dear. 

I later found out that it is not the American Legion or the VFW that puts out the flags and the markers, but the people in the Bleckley county courthouse.  There is a nice black granite marker on the northwest quadrant of the courthouse grounds that has almost all of these names listed by which conflict that they died in.  Nevertheless, they went to the trouble to place the markers on the grass, each with a soldier's name and an American flag.  It is a special tribute to ensure that they are soldiers with names.

I have no idea if I will be at the courthouse on Monday morning when the special service is held to honor these, and others, that have died in service to their country.  Just in case I don't make it Monday, I went up there last night and called each one by name, thanked them, and said a pray of gratitude for their service and the sacrifice that they and their families made.  I also read the names of the almost 100 American soldiers that have died since Memorial Day of 2013. It is the least I can do.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


We went to church today at Longstreet Methodist church.  It was homecoming.  It has really become an annual tradition for us. Sometimes we just go for lunch.  Sometimes, like today,  we get there in time for singing and the morning message.  To some, it may seem odd for us to go to homecoming at a church that we can't really call home.  Neither Deb nor I ever attended there regularly.  In fact, about the only time we have ever been there is for homecoming and other special occasions.  We go there because it is a place that is so special to many of our friends that mean a lot to us.  Friends that we truly love.

It is a 202 year old structure that has been added onto only once, as far as I can tell.  The two front doors are original to the structure.  They are kind of rough hewn.  The nails were probably handmade and the hinges certainly were.  It is a simple structure that was built back in the days when construction in the south, at least this part of the south, was really simple.  Life itself was simpler in those days too.
Danny Mathis was today's speaker.  It is not his "home" church either, but he spoke about how he spent a lot of time there as a young man in the seventies and how he got his bearings as a young Christian there.

Danny used this setting to talk about the simplicity of salvation. How easy it is to make our relationship with God overly complex. 

Of course, that is all true, but don't we sometimes,  (maybe most of the time,)  make our life, especially our relationships overly complex?  It is so easy to expect more of people that they can deliver.  It is also easy to put OUR expectations on other people; expectations that are our goals for them, and not theirs.  We do it to our friends.  We do it to our parents.  We do it to our children.  (Sometime we even do it to people beside us or in front of us in traffic.) We are responsible for our own disappointment in others because we EXPECT them to be what we want them to be, rather than what they are meant to be.

Danny talked about clutter.  I am sure he was mostly referring to clutter in our spiritual lives, but it could also apply to other clutter in our lives, our homes, our cars, and our minds.  I certainly am guilty of having so many thing on my mental list of "to dos" that I get so bogged down that I don't get any of it, or at least not much of it done.  He had a solution: simplify!  In fact he used the KISS phrase: "Keep it Simple Stupid."

I couldn't help but think about my dear bride, Deb.  Several years ago when she was thinking about retirement, she decided that she (we) had too much clutter in our lives.  She vowed to "Simplify" her, which really meant our, lives.  She has been on this quest for several years and even though I am a slow learner, I am beginning to get it.  (In some areas of my life, I am practically rehab slow...) 

In some areas of my life, I am so organized.  In other  (most) areas I am so cluttered and I really need to work on those areas.  I have a good friend who collects and saves.  He sometimes says that he is just a bag or two (of junk) short of being featured on "Hoarders."   He say things like, "...because one day I might really need those headlight rings for a 1964 Nash Rambler.  Who knows!"

I laugh when he says these things, but even though I may not collect car parts, there is so much clutter in my life.  I have books that I will never refer to or read again.  I have tools that I will probably never use.  I know that I have old salvage wood that will never find its way into a project.  But that is not all, I have attitudes that need to go.  I have expectations that I need to get rid of.  Fears? Prejudices?  Who know what else?

Lastly, I will mention one final point on simplicity.  Knowing that we were going to eat after Danny spoke and knowing that Danny was the guest speaker, some woman, (I didn't hear her name,) made Danny a German chocolate cake.  That is his favorite!  If you have slowed down enough to think about your friend's favorite cake and actually have the time to make it for him, you have pretty much mastered the simplicity sermon...