Tuesday, April 02, 2013

In Memory of Dad

I was Dad’s favorite son. And though I could have been emotionally and psychologically damaged by a first-time father, I choose to believe he actually did a pretty good job. But Dad wouldn’t dream of taking credit for raising a son he was so obviously proud of. He bathed me, and all he loved with endless prayer… prayer for guidance; prayer for safety; prayer for our spouses even before we married; and later, prayer for our grandchildren. His greatest prayer was that we would all grow to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind.

It was pretty tough to get into any real trouble knowing Dad was probably praying for me at the moment of temptation. Although Dad never spanked me, he certainly disciplined me. His piercing eyes of disappointment were all it took to turn me into a repentant puddle of blubbering remorse. And it was always followed by a loving hug and verbal confirmation that he still loved me. As a result of Dad’s sensitivity to the way God had wired me, I can honestly say he left no scars on my life, only blessing.

I had the privilege of walking with Dad through one of the most difficult times in his life. I say privilege because I saw first hand how real and comforting God was in his life. Comprehending only to the extent any 7 year old could, I remembered the deep pain in his eyes as he ushered me into the kitchen and told me he would no longer be living in the same house.
But what transpired in the following years characterized his love and devotion to me. Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, Dad would pick me up and take me to his apartment where he would cook up his infamous cabbage with bacon or some other culinary cuisine. Just Dad and me, bachelors eating our meal in front of the TV while watching The 3 Stooges and Hogan’s Heroes.
The weekends were the highlight of the week. Nearly every Saturday was spent exploring the roads and lakes of California, gorging ourselves on milkshakes, rye bread and bbq ribs along the way.

My memories of Dad are numerous, and the list continues to grow. I remember;

- His whistle, his harmonica and his inability to catch fish,

- His love of hymns and singing in church cantatas… even if he did make up words as he sang,

- His ability to machine parts to the 10,000th of an inch that would propel the Space Shuttle to outer space, but cutting a 2x4 never came out to the right length,

- How he knew where every road went in CA, because he’d been on every one,
- His love for flying, His love for his kids, his love for his grandchildren and ham,
- His green thumb for growing orchids
- His ability to pick the ugliest cars on the planet… which was probably a contributing factor in falling in love with Brenda, who owned a Rambler when they began dating
I remember him -
Buying my first Bible, bicycle, fishing pole, helicopter ride, and car,
Teaching me to repair my own car, mow a lawn and play chess,
Buying beach front property at Shelter Cove as an “investment”, but actually just an excuse to drive to the remotest beach in the state of California
The importance of always carrying a pocketknife in order to cut a stick of salami,
And his consistent reminder that he loved me.

Chapter 4, verse 13 in the book of Acts sums up his life well...

"Now as they observed the confidence of John and understood that he was a uneducated and untrained man, they were amazed, and began to recognize him as having been with Jesus."