Sunday, June 16, 2013


I'm missing my dad today, not that I only miss him on Father's Day.  But on a day when the focus is on fatherhood, I have an abundance of memories from the 56 years he was my dad.

My father was the youngest of six children, and since his siblings were a bit older, he didn't experience as much of the sibling rivalry that was normal in a household of kids who were a year and two apart.  He didn't raise us with an iron hand, but we were raised to love and respect him.  There was a certain look or a sound to his voice that meant he was in charge.  Often all it took to get our attention, was the speaking of our name.  When he wanted to let us know he was in the audience of our choral concerts or other events, he would clear his throat just before it would begin. 

My dad was the janitor at the grade school I attended, and my first grade teacher was also the principal, so it wasn't unusual for the two of them to see each other or talk on a regular basis.  One day on my spelling paper, I misspelled my name.  Instead of putting "Susan" I wrote "Susa".  I must have been in a hurry, or not paying attention.  My teacher, the principal, shared this tidbit with my dad.  There was nothing we could do or not do that he didn't know about. The later spelling became the basis for a nickname he gave me and lovingly used until he passed away in March of 2010 - Susa Gail.

My dad was considered a "Jack of all Trades" and as I discovered later in life, it wasn't always so wonderful to have a dad like that.  When I got married, I just figured every man knew how to build things, and fix things, and make things, etc.  Dad had a sharp, creative mind when it came to building or fixing things.  He built the house we grew up in.  He designed and built a retirement home for my mother and him.  He remodeled their mobile home in Florida, and the home they lived in last.  One of the things I miss most about my dad was his creativity.  I could ask him how something could be done, if something could be made, or how to fix something.  If he didn't know right away, he'd get back to you after some thought.  My father never went to college, but educated himself along the way, and had far more knowledge and insight than a college graduate.

Dad was musically inclined, in fact, our whole family is.  He had a wonderful voice, and though he could not read music, he sang tenor or baritone beautifully.  Occasionally, I hear his voice harmonizing in church. Here is one of Dad's favorite hymns. Whenever we sang this hymn, he would get so choked up, we'd all be crying.  It took 2 years for me to be able to hear this tune or sing it without tears streaming down my face.  This stanza reminds we most of him:

"When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
I hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain gandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze - then sings my soul, my Saviour God to thee.
How great thou art,
How great thou art,
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to thee
How great thou art, how great thou art!

He also whistled like a pro.  Here he is with my granddaughter and his name sake, teaching her how to whistle. If Dad was not whistling when he came home from work, something was wrong. 

My dad lived and led by example.  He was a wonderful father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, fondly called "Pa" perhaps after his own father. He was a son, child of God, brother, cousin, nephew, friend, husband, brother-in-law, uncle, neighbor, mentor - he was so much to so many.  Today we remember how blessed we were to call him Dad.

Here are some inspirations I've found around the internet about fathers:

"A father is his daughter's first love."

"A Father is his son's first hero."

"The greatest gift we ever had came from God - we call him Daddy."

"The greatest gift we ever had came from God - we call him Grandpa."

"To the world you are one person, but to one person, you are the world - Dad"


1 comment:

  1. A beautiful tribute to your Father. My Dad passed away many years ago and I still miss him so much. We both are blessed with many wonderful memories.