Father’s Day – A Tribute to a Father
Carol Harrison pens “A Tribute to a Father.” In celebration of Father’s Day Carol shares some intimate stories of life with her father.
As Father’s day approaches, I chose to spend some time reflecting on my dad who passed away in the summer of 2016. My husband and I spent a lot of time with him, especially after my mother passed away. The older he got, the more he needed our help and this bothered him for he was always a man who helped others including us.
My earliest memories of my dad were of someone who wasn’t home very much. He drove short haul in semis but that still meant he left for work before I got up and arrived home after I went to bed when I was young. Yet I also remember that weekends and his holidays were all about family. Even when he washed the car on a Saturday morning, he loved having me hang out with him. I am sure he would have finished much quicker without the presence of me or my little brother but he never minded having us close by.
Since my mother did not drive at that time, Saturday’s always meant time to go grocery shopping –which we did as a family. Again I think about how much quicker it would have gone without two little ones tagging along but also how special it was to be included. Sometimes, after the Saturday chores were completed, we would go visit friends or family but often that happened Sunday after church.
My Father, the Usher
He loved visiting people and seemed to know people everywhere we went. As an usher at church, he was able to visit with everyone as they arrived or left. He always had mints in his pocket in case the pastor needed one or anyone else, for that matter. He loved the children and we would often see him helping out a frazzled young mom by entertaining their little ones.
On summer, Sunday evenings we would pick up his mother, my grandmother, who was already a widow by the time I turned eight. We would go for a bit of a drive, ending up at the Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone. Oh how I enjoyed those lazy summer days. Some Sundays we drove into the country to visit people Dad had been friends with since his childhood. He wanted us to get to know them even as he kept in touch.
Dad Worked Hard
Dad worked hard to provide for us but was never wealthy. We had a good house but it was old. We had our needs met and sometimes special things as well. In fact one of Dad’s desires included traveling to see the country and visit family who lived in other provinces as well as in the States. Mom and dad scrimped to be able to save money to have a bit of a holiday each year. Dad thought it was important for us, his children, to see other places and meet the relatives. Family was so important to him. Often, when we were small, my grandmother would come with us or my mom’s two unmarried sisters. He made room for more than just the four of us. We never went on any fancy vacations but we made some wonderful memories over the years.
My Strict Dad
I also remember how strict my dad could be. In church we were ushered to the front. We sat on one side, about four rows back. If mom had to take us out because we misbehaved, we would be in more trouble at home. I don’t remember ever wanting to cross him or disappoint him and mom so I sat quietly even as a young child. By the time I reached my teens, I no longer wanted to sit with my mom. I was allowed to join the other teens. We sat in the front row of the balcony, thinking we were so far away from the preacher at the front, yet not realizing how easy it was for him to look up and watch everything we did. But my father knew that.
Things did not change much by the time I married and started having my own children. Dad still worked hard but the hours were not as long and he had time to enjoy visiting and his grandchildren. He still ushered at church, although it was in a different city. We attended the same church and he still ushered us, children included, to the front. By the time our oldest wanted to sit with their friends he ushered the group of kids to the front, on one side of the church. I chuckled when not one of them, his grandchildren or any other kids in the church, ever argued with him.
Playing Games with Grandchildren
The grandchildren loved playing games with grandpa, camping with him and grandma for the few years they owned a camper and all of us knew that if we needed something fixed, he likely could figure out how to do it.
I remember watching dad make puzzles until shortly before he passed away. He loved the challenge and was very good at it. He might only have had a grade eight education but his math skills remained sharp all his life. He loved to reminisce about the trips he took with my mom or that we took as a family. He could tell me every vehicle he ever owned or drove for work. Yet he rarely talked about his growing up years.
Faith in Action
Dad did not talk much about his faith but he showed by his actions what it meant to him. He cared for his family and kept in touch with friends. He helped others whenever he could.
Dad could also be stubborn. At times he did not share what he thought, especially during the last few months of his life, but tried to do what he thought I wanted him to do. Yet even when he would get angry or I thought he was being too strict when I was growing up, I still knew he loved me and would do whatever it took to help me be the person he knew I could be. His sense of humor would come out in the strangest ways at times like when my brother asked him what kind of flowers we should have at his funeral. My dad who did not care much for any type of flower said, with a straight face, “Dandelions”. All of us gathered around him to visit that day had a good laugh.
A Heavenly Father
The Bible talks about how much our heavenly Father loves us. For me to imagine a loving heavenly Father was never difficult for I had a good, though not perfect, earthly example. Yet I know that is not always the case.
Do You Have a Tribute to a Father?
I don’t know what type of dad any of you listeners may have had or still have with you. I want to challenge each one of us to appreciate the good memories if we have them, share the stories and tell your dad you love him. Maybe this Father’s day can be a time of offering forgiveness to free you up to learn about the love your perfect heavenly Father has for each one of us. Maybe it can be a time to reconnect.
For those fathers and grandfathers tuning in to this program, I want to wish you God’s blessings as you seek to be the dad He wants you to be. Happy Father’s Day.
Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.
She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.
Visit Carol’s website carolscorner.ca
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