Happy Father's Day, Daddy in Heaven

Daddys are special.  But, if you still call your father "daddy" and you're nearing your 40's, chances are you already knew that.

Every Father's Day, I do a few things with the kids to make my husband feel special, and boy does that man deserve it.  He works so hard, plays with the kids, educates them and shares his love for Christ with them, among many other things.  Yet, as Father's Day 2011 rounds the bend, I find myself reminiscing in a wonderful way about all of the memories I shared with my own father and the priceless things he taught me.  As with most father/daughter relationships, for better or for worse, my father played a major role in shaping the woman I have become today.

Here are a few of the things I learned from my dad and have come to adopt as an integral part of ME ME ME ME...Ahem.

My dad had the most incredibly diverse taste in music. Everything from Nat King Cole to Mexican Rancheros. From The Beatles to Spanish Flamenco. From Bossa Nova to Waylon & Willie and The Boys, my dad was very well versed in all genres. And, the icing on the cake is that he could play almost every instrument known to mankind. Totally by ear. He never learned to read a musical note. Yet, he taught my sisters how to play the piano, and he attempted to teach me the guitar (though I was too shy and uninterested back then).  According to my aunt he also played the trumpet, the violin and the drums.  The man was definitely gifted by God.

You must know that as I write this, I am listening to one of the CD's that reminds me of my Daddy like no other.  It is a rare find indeed.  It's called"Jazz Meets the Bossa Nova"by The Paul Winter Sextet.  Although Daddy used to play his version on a 33 1/3" record.  Yes, I know... I'm old.

Interesting side note:  The father of one of my dearest friends, Amanda Whitsell Ridout, played the trumpet on this very album along with Paul Winter!  All those years ago, my father was listening to her father on this album. Amazing.

Tending to his vegetable and fruit tree garden was one of my dad's favorite activities, and I distinctly remember the unmistakable smell of the water from Daddy's hand-held sprayer hitting the dirt on those late/hot Texas summer evenings.  You know the smell of rain?  Well, this was similar but even better.  I won't go into all the details of the food he grew, but suffice it to say... he had a green thumb.

Complementary to his love for cultivating the land was his care and love for all things feathered and fluffy.  I remember us always having animals, be it dog or cat, dove or pigeon, chicken or duck... my dad loved animals, and it certainly rubbed off on me.  Yet, I'm still a tiny bit sad and maybe a tad jealous that I didn't get to have a raccoon like my sisters did (before I was born).  Ah, well... maybe I can talk my kids into talking me into one. Ha!

There are a number of things you can inherit via DNA, and I firmly believe the ability to cook a good meal is one of them.  My father was a wonderful cook/chef, and his father was a great one as well.  Once my dad finally got up the nerve to allow me to approach our gas stove and cook for him and my mom, he was so impressed that I was thereby crowned and given the family "scepter" ala spatula to carry on in his stead. Okay, maybe it wasn't that dramatic, but he liked it and asked me to cook the very same meal again and again.

From the time I was about five, I remember my dad teaching me short little phrases in various languages such as, "Nanji desu ka?" ("What time is it?" in Japanese) and "Comment allez vous?" ("How are you?" in French).  Of course, my father was Hispanic and was, therefore, fluent in Spanish. Yet, he had a gift that I believe can only come from God.  The gift of languages.  He loved them and picked up meanings of words/phrases very easily. This is something I "inherited" and am blessed to this day to be able to speak Spanish as well as some French.  And, I am blessed with many friends from multiple cultures who have taught me some of their native phrases.  Thanks to my dad, I had an interest and a desire to delve into other cultures, make new friends and experience the Lord's blessing of using a gift that, I have since learned, doesn't come easily to just anyone on the planet.

From building to drawing to photography and 8mm reel-to-reel "cinematography," my dad's creativity spanned a very wide range.  He once built a set of playhouses for me.  From wood. Adult sized. Complete with screened-in porch on one and a telephone wired into our main house inside the other.  Interestingly enough, my father had a second grade education due to the fact that he was pulled out of school to help pick cotton and make money to feed his family.  Such is the life of a first-born male during The Great Depression.  Yet, I dare to imagine and even bet that if he had gone on to graduate high school, and if he had had the means by which to attend college, he could have been an engineer or an architect.  There is no doubt in my mind that my father was a very intelligent man.  A very intelligent man, indeed.

For all of the things that I saw my father accomplish, I also saw in him many a dream that was never fulfilled, and for that I am truly sad.  If you've ever seen the movie While You Were Sleeping, you'll remember that Lucy's father never traveled anywhere, but she was determined to pick up his dream and run with it over to Florence, Italy.  Likewise, my father never made it anywhere.  Honestly, I never thought I would either, nor did I really care to.  The most we ever traveled was to an occasional Saturday flea market, to the ice cream store or up on top of the roof of his tool shed to look up at an occasional magnificently full moon with his telescope.  But, today I'm happy to report that my dad would be so elated to know that I have been to several European countries multiple times as well as South America, and I've enjoyed everything he probably dreamed of and then some.

Now, this blog would not be complete if I didn't share the very BEST part about my dad.  Gosh, looking back on what I just wrote, I realize that it might appear that my dad was just great at almost everything.  As with some/most of us humans, my dad had faults coming out of his ears, and like all of humanity he was a sinner before God.  I once asked him when I was 5 years old, "Daddy, do you believe that the Bible is true?"  Though I was just a child, his answer in the affirmative was so significant in my life.  For, from that point on, I took The Bible as the very word of God as well. As an adult, I've wondered, researched, pondered and struggled through questions to make my own decisions, and I still come back to the same conclusion as he... a resounding "Yes.  I do believe the Bible is true."

But, more than just believing the Bible to be true, my father believed that Jesus Christ was the very son of God.  He trusted him as his Savior, who would cleanse him from his sin and make a way for him to have a relationship in right standing with the God of the universe, his Creator, his Heavenly Father.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy in Heaven!  

I love and miss you!

Your "Mija"

Related blog:  Remembering my dad's death... D-A-D-D-Y