My dad was not like many. When I look back at his life, I quickly realize how lucky I was to be his. He and my mom had three children; my two sisters and my brother. When my brother died at the age of seven, they had a surgical procedure reversed and I was conceived exactly a year after Michael’s death. My parents then went on to adopt two more children. That’s SIX kids!
My dad was someone very special. He worked a lot to make ends meet. Yet, my dad was there by my side through everything I did. I went to work with him regularly and he taught me his trade. On weekends, he would take me fishing in a catfish pond. After late nights in the dance studio, it was Dad who patiently waited on me and drove me home. And there were some nights he waited for a while and he never complained. He even let me belt out songs on repeat in the truck on the drive home. One of those songs was Celine Dion’s “I’m Your Lady.” I just changed the words to “I’m Your Daughter and You Are My Dad.” I sang that song for him.
My dad was a very patient and kind man. I never heard him utter a bad word to or about anyone. He loved everyone he met. And there was no such thing as a stranger. He enjoyed being social and telling stories. “Did you hear about the boy who went to the Pediatrician?”
My dad had a wealth of knowledge. I tried to soak up everything he taught me and wish I knew half of the things he did. He should have been a mechanical engineer. The man could fix anything and he had a solution for it all. My dad’s degree was in animal husbandry. He was a cattle buyer for most of his life. It was his love for animals that flowed down to all his kids. And speaking of love, my dad loved food. He was always in the kitchen perfecting Grandma’s recipes. Pound cake was a favorite of his.
My dad was a strong man of faith. I never once saw him doubt, and his faith in God was passed down to us. He enjoyed worshiping the Lord and was at church every chance he could get. He loved music and you could always find his hand drumming to a song that was playing. He was a man of God and he raised us to love God.
We learned what it was like to love someone when we saw my mom and dad together. He was such a Southern gentleman. He was so tender with her and hugged her so softly. He offered her the biggest slice of pie. She wore his coat when it was cold. Their love was an example to us all.
My dad was a man of manners. A guest was always offered a drink; even to his visitors that recently visited him at home while he was sick. He was asking guests if they wanted a cup of coffee or a glass of Ginger Ale. He was a giving man and offered everything he had. He had a peppermint in his pocket for each child when he got home. Today, he would have wanted us to offer you all peppermints and thank you for coming.
We can never say thank you enough to the friends Dad made quickly in the short time he was here in Huntsville, but each one of you are a blessing. Dad was loved and he felt it. He made friendships that felt like they were 40 years long. We have lost a father and a friend but we are reminded how lucky we are. Fathers like him are hard to find.