www.CreativeYouthIdeas.comwww.CreativeHolidayIdeas.comToday is Father’s Day. A day ofcologne. A day of hugs, newneckties, long-distance phonecalls, and Hallmark cards.Today is my first Father’s Daywithout a father. For thirty-oneyears I had one. I had one of thebest. But now he’s gone. He’sburied under an oak tree in awest Texas cemetery. Eventhough he’s gone, his presenceis very near–especially today.
www.CreativeYouthIdeas.comwww.CreativeHolidayIdeas.comIt seems strange that he isn’t here.I guess that’s because he wasnever gone. He was always closeby. Always available. Alwayspresent. His words were nothingnovel. His achievements, thoughadmirable, were nothingextraordinary.But his presence was.
www.CreativeYouthIdeas.comwww.CreativeHolidayIdeas.comLike a warm fireplace in a large house,he was a source of comfort. Like asturdy porch swing or a big-branchedelm in the backyard, he could alwaysbe found…and leaned upon.During the turbulent years of myadolescence, Dad was one part of mylife that was predictable. Girl friendscame and girl friends went, but Dadwas there. Football season turnedinto baseball season and turned intofootball season again and Dad wasalways there. Summer vacation,Homecoming dates, algebra, first car,driveway basketball–they all had onething in common: his presence.
www.CreativeYouthIdeas.comwww.CreativeHolidayIdeas.comAnd because he was there life wentsmoothly. The car always ran, thebills got paid, and the lawn stayedmowed. Because he was there, thelaughter was fresh and the futurewas secure. Because he was theremy growing up was what Godintended growing up to be; astorybook scamper through themagic and mystery of the world.Because he was there we kidsnever worried about things likeincome tax, savings accounts,monthly bills, or mortgages. Thosewere the things on Daddy’s desk.
www.CreativeYouthIdeas.comwww.CreativeHolidayIdeas.comWe have lots of family pictureswithout him. Not because hewasn’t there, but because hewas always behind the camera.He made the decisions, broke upthe fights, chuckled at ArchieBunker, read the paper everyevening, and fixed breakfast onSundays. He didn’t do anythingunusual. He only did what dadsare supposed to do–be there.
www.CreativeYouthIdeas.comwww.CreativeHolidayIdeas.comHe taught me how to shave andhow to pray. He helped mememorize verses for Sunday schooland taught me that wrong shouldbe punished and that rightness hasits own reward. He modeled theimportance of getting up early andstaying out of debt. His lifeexpressed the elusive balancebetween ambition and self-acceptance.
www.CreativeYouthIdeas.comwww.CreativeHolidayIdeas.comHe comes to mind often. WhenI smell “Old Spice” aftershave, Ithink of him. When I see a bassboat I see his face. Andoccasionally, not too often, butoccasionally when I hear a goodjoke, (the kind Red Skeltonwould tell), I hear him chuckle.He had a copyright chuckle thatalways came with a wide grinand arched eyebrows.
www.CreativeYouthIdeas.comwww.CreativeHolidayIdeas.comDaddy never said a word to meabout sex or told me his lifestory. But I knew that if I everwanted to know, he would tellme. All I had to do was ask. And Iknew if I ever needed him, he’dbe there.Like a warm fireplace.
www.CreativeYouthIdeas.comwww.CreativeHolidayIdeas.comMaybe that’s why this Father’sDay is a bit chilly. The fire hasgone out. The winds of ageswallowed the late splendidflame, leaving only goldenembers. But there is a strangething about those embers…stirthem a bit and a flame willdance. It will dance only briefly,but it will dance. And it willknock just enough chill out ofthe air to remind me that he isstill…in a special way…verypresent.
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