Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Part 2: Hero Grandaddy!!

Jackson:  Grandaddy is the best.  Grandaddy is very strong in the Spirit.  Grandaddy is very energetic.  He is strong, and he's very nice.  He sacrifices for us.  He gives us wonderful stuff and gifts.  He's very sweet, and he teaches us wonderful history lessons.  He makes the history lessons fun.  He knows a lot about scripture stories.  He watches us wrestle sometimes, and he will do almost anything for us.  When I was 5-years old, a kid was picking on me at the playground at the school, and Grandaddy came and said, "Don't mess with my grandson!"  It made me feel good that Grandaddy was watching over me.  Grandaddy inspires me to be strong in the gospel.  I love you Grandaddy!!  You are awesome!!

Tyson:  Grandaddy watches TV with me.  He's a very spiritual man.  He teaches me a lot about history.  He helps me with my schoolwork when I come to his house.  He makes sure I'm always okay.  Like if I'm not feeling well, he helps me get into the bed; and if I need something, he'll go and get it.  He makes sure that I finish doing a job if I'm doing one.  He makes me hotdogs.  Sometimes he takes me to his garden; I like going with him because I like to be around him.  Grandaddy inspires me to be wise.  I love Grandaddy so much.

Jordan:  Grandaddy is awesome!  I like that he always gives us history lessons.  I like that he volunteers to patrol the neighborhood.  I like it because he keeps things safe.  I like that whenever he visits, he plays games with us.  When he visits us, he goes to our wrestling matches.  I like that he has a big backyard that we can play sports in.  I like that he has a great testimony, and I like that he's the stake executive secretary because he's very strong in the church.  Grandaddy inspires me to be a leader in the church.  I love Grandaddy!!

Mariah:  Grandaddy is awesome!  Grandaddy helps us when we need help, and he's really nice with us.    And he lets us do things that he doesn't do.  Like if we want to go swim somewhere and he doesn't want to, he'll still take us there.  Like if we accidentally make a mess, he asks us to just clean it up just a little bit, so it could be a little cleaner.  We don't have to do too much work, so we can have more time with him.  Grandaddy inspires me to be healthy like him.  I love you soooo much.

Juliana:  Grandaddy loves Jesus.  I like riding on Grandaddy (his shoulders).  I give big hugs and kisses.  I love Grandaddy.

Jayden:  Every time we talk about Grandaddy, Jayden gets a HUGE smile.  You should see his excitement when Grandaddy walks in the door.

Abe:  I could tell stories about my Dad all day.  He is an amazing man and has done many amazing things. He has also done many small and simple things, which have helped shape me.  These memories I share will focus on a few of those things.

This is a conversation that would take place in our home several times a year.

Kids: What would you like for Christmas, Dad
Dad: Whirled Peas
Kids: huh?
Dad: World Peace. All I want is World Peace.
Kids: Come on, dad! You can’t use that again.
Dad: You asked me what I wanted. And all I want is World Peace.

I swear, you could never get him to answer anything different.

My love of The St. Louis Baseball Cardinals was inspired by the several visits My Dad and I took to Busch Stadium.  The live games were always special.  I remember going down by the Mississippi River front and watching, Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock, Jose Oquendo, Terry Pendelton, Tommy Herr, Jack Clark, and many more play.   In fact, Dad helped my love for all sports grow. He was a big factor in which sports I watched and played growing up. He was even my football coach in little league, and he was a good one. All the guys loved him, and he would let us try to tackle him after practice. I can still picture a bunch of little 8 year olds bouncing off my dad as he ran without pads or helmets to a touch down almost every time. We loved it!    

He did always let me choose what I wanted to play, though. He never forced me. That is a tradition I have carried on with my kids. I remember for a brief time while I was about 11 years old, I dropped out of football to do acting.  I am sure, he was probably surprised by my choice, but he never tried to talk me into going back to football. Of course, I did go back a couple of years later, but he would always counsel with me and listen, before laying out what options he felt were available to me. Then, he would support me in my choices.

My dad is a history buff. I never heard a history lesson that was better than when he would tell me all the details from his own perspective.  He does the same thing with my sons now.

My Dad took me camping, even when he didn’t want to go. We went to scout camps, father and son camps, etc. My brother and I felt so cool when we would show up at the Father’s and Son’s campout with a bucket of Kentucky Fried and some biscuits, while everyone else was burning tin foil dinners in the fire.

I remember when my dad took me on a float trip down the Merrimac River in Missouri.  We stopped for a break and I asked my dad if I could get into the river and play in the water a little bit. The day was hot and the water was nice and cool. My dad said, “Sure, but don’t get carried away.” Years later, I assume he meant not to get out of hand, and to be careful in the river. Back then what he said took on a very literal meaning to me. As I played in the river, the current began to carry me down the river in my life vest. I remember calling out, “Dad! Dad! I’m getting carried away!” No problem. Dad jumped in and swam out to grab me. I was never in real danger, but I determined from that point on to never “get carried away” again.

My dad will tell you that he can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but he was always singing to us when we were growing up. Much of my love for music comes from him and my mom always having some sort of music playing.  My dad is the biggest Temptations fan around. He was always singing My Girl, usually to my sister or mom.

My dad by far is the best home teaching companion I have ever had. We would sometimes have 10 or 12 families when he was the Branch President in Massachusetts. We would visit every one of them.  He was always an example of service and loving people, in some cases despite what they felt about him.

Many times he would be up before everyone and go to bed after everyone. He showed me what it means to work hard and be responsible.  He was always getting us up and ready from prayer early in the morning, FHE, Seminary, you name it. Anything that could help us gain a better testimony, he was supporting it, encouraging it, and leading by example.

These are just a few things I am touching on about my dad that make him a hero to me. I could probably write a book about it. Now, that’s an idea.

Now that I am older and have a family, I can really appreciate even more all that my Dad has done to be such a good father. I pray that I can be half the father he has been to me. His sacrifices are great. His support is strong. And he is still here, encouraging...leading…loving.

My Turn:  Most of our children commented quite a bit about my father-in-law's ability to give great history lessons.  It is amazing how much history he knows!  My mother-in-law told me that when they were first dating, she got a book to reference historical facts while they were on the phone so that he would be impressed with her historical knowledge.  He fell for it, and he was impressed… but I happen to know he fell in love with her for a lot more reasons than her historical (or lack thereof) expertise. :-)

I am often impressed with Dad's great love for his wife.  I have heard him express sincere sadness when she's away on a trip.  After so many years of marriage, his yearning for her when she's away always touches my heart.

My father-in-law has also taught my kids some pretty fantastic karate lessons...

As a young child, Abe used to take karate from his dad… he was often reprimanded during class for not paying attention. :-)  Dad takes rules very seriously.  I'm especially grateful he is that way because he takes the rules/commandments of God just as seriously.  Because of that, he has raised a wonderful son who has developed an unshakeable testimony of Jesus Christ and HIS gospel.  I'm forever grateful that my children can look to the many men in their lives as true disciples of Christ.

Last year, my father-in-law wrote an entry in my blog about his conversion to Jesus Christ and to HIS gospel.  His story is inspiring.  Please click on the link below if you would like to read it.  What a man!  What a life!!

This second link is the original one I posted of a small piece of his conversion story.

There is something special about my father-in-law's sense of duty and service to God… My father-in-law serves in the temple every week.  He currently serves as the stake executive secretary, and he serves in the community as a patrol officer.  When we lived with my in-laws, we often presented them with activities that seemed more fun or more appealing, but he turned those opportunities down to fulfill his duties.  There were times when we knew he wasn't feeling well… but he still got up extra early in the morning to serve God, his community, and the people around him because his word meant so much more than anything else could.  As much as we wanted Dad to participate with us in the activities that seemed so much more fun, it means more to us that we have his legacy of a man who honors his word, his duties, and his service to God.

When we moved to Utah, my father-in-law made the long drive with us and helped us unpack.  When we moved to Michigan; again, he made the long drive with us.  When we moved to Florida, there he was unpacking all of our belongings once again.  Then, we moved again here in Florida, he was right there once again right by Abe's side… unpacking our entire house… without complaint.

We have so many wonderful pictures of my father-in-law/Dad with our children.  He truly loves his grandchildren.  I know that he has great desires for them to feel of his love… to feel of God's love through his love.  My father-in-law never knew his own father. He broke the cycle of absent fathers and chose to make better of his life.  He was the first to graduate from college from his family, and he has become a great leader and father not only to us but to many church families. Many who grow up in the type of circumstances that he did wouldn't have the drive, the will, the ability, and the faith to achieve and accomplish what he has and continues to accomplish.

My father-in-law is a man to be admired.  He is a hero in our home.  We love you!!

Below is the link to Grandaddy's dear wife from Mother's Day.  Click on it if you would like to read it.  She's his special, forever companion. :-)