In the year after my dad died, as part of my grieving, I wrote this book. I’ve waited to make it public for many reasons. But now, more than 11 years later, I want to share it. My dad was a good man. I want you to know about him and his influence. I hope you enjoy.
I remember my dad getting in trouble from my mom for throwing a ball inside the house. I had been throwing a football in the house and my mom told me to stop because I would break something. In walks my dad, not having heard this comment, sees my football and, of course, being a man, picks it up and throws it. Wouldn’t you know it, he hit one of my mom’s collector plates hanging on the wall. It fell off and broke into several pieces. How refreshing to see my dad get busted! But how nice to see how much a boy needs a dad. A mom sees the danger of throwing a football and wants it stopped. A dad sees a football and has to throw it. Sons need their dads. I needed my dad and I got him.
Everyone remembered this event about five years later when my buddy Joe and I were throwing yet another football in my room. I had two beds from a bunk bed and we were throwing the ball between them. One of the throws got a bit carried away and knocked the glass light cover off the ceiling light and shattered it into a million pieces. Even though we all remembered dad’s errant throw, I still got in trouble. I had to use my own money to buy a new light fixture. My dad and I made yet another trip to the Ace hardware where I picked out a light fixture, bought it, took it home and put it up. Lesson learned. You can throw the football but you will pay for any damages. Can do.
Just a few years ago I was at my parent’s house for Christmas. When these holidays come my dad and I become messenger guys. We run from store to store together getting stuff for people. We needed a strange assortment of stuff so we headed over to Walgreens. As we were leaving, my wife told me to try and find something for Carter, my one-year old nephew. What was she thinking?
Walgreens certainly had a good assortment of things I thought a one-year old boy would love. My dad and I found a display of Pete the Repeat Parrots in the back of the Walgreens. The stated purpose of Pete the Repeat Parrot was that when you pushed a button on his stand he would record your voice. Pete would then put what you said into Parrot lingo and repeat it quickly a few times. So you would push the button and say “Hello.” Pete would then say, in parrot talk, “Hellohello.” It was great.
The great thing about it is that they were voice activated. When you got one saying something the others would hear it and come to life. So you could say “Hello” to one Pete and another Pete would hear it, record it and then say it again. That Pete would then wake up another Pete, you can see where I’m going with this. For two bored guys on Christmas Eve, this was fascinating entertainment. I’ve never laughed so hard in a Walgreens. Pete was given to Carter for Christmas. It was the best Christmas ever.
The strangest thing about my dad’s funeral is that he wasn’t there. I told my dad when he found out he had cancer that I would love to speak at his funeral. I had been a pastor for six years by that time and during those six years I would often call my dad and we would run our sermon ideas past each other on Saturday nights. We would preach to each other, work out kinks, ask each other what we thought of something. It was great. While preparing for his funeral sermon, I had no one to ask. To be honest, by that time I had been calling my dad fewer times to discuss sermon ideas. He had taught me, we knew our stuff and I had hit my stride. I was prepared for it.
By spending so much time with my dad and experiencing life, I feel I have a better handle on things than many other guys my age. My dad helped me live. It’s weird not having him here but just the other day when I helped a guy clean up wood in his yard, I rehearsed the phone call I would have for my dad. To tell him what I did and swap stories. It would have been great. He would have loved to have been there.