A month ago today was my dad’s funeral. So much has gone on in that time that I want to tell him…show him…I miss him every day.
I have such wonderful memories of my father in my growing up years. I couldn’t have designed a better childhood for myself. Much of our time was spent in laughter, and most of the time it was with/at dad. He kept us all in stitches. He was happy, fun-loving, steadfast and solid. I knew, without a doubt, that I was loved!
Dad and I spent much time in the back yard playing catch or the old game of Jarts or mowing the lawn. I loved the smile that lit up his face after a long stretch of mowing, when I’d walk out to relieve him with an ice cold can of Pabst Blue Ribbon in hand! When I was in Jr. high, we went on a CROP walk together…poor man walked 15 miles in a day, and then couldn’t move for the next couple of days! His words to me at that time were “Don’t you EVER tell me I never did anything with you!” Ha! I never did!
We had wonderful family week long vacations at Clear Lake. Oh, the fun! Fishing and swimming and eating and playing cards and visiting with family! We also went camping in a borrowed pop-up trailer at Buck Lake Ranch. THOSE were some great weekends! We spent entire days watching one country music performer after another! Charlie Pride, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Pardon, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Porter Wagoner, Ferlon Husky…the list could go on and on. We went to Cedar Point almost every summer. My dad wasn’t afraid to ride anything…my mom on the other hand…
Dad and mom attended all programs, church or school, that I was ever in. I was stunned (thrilled, but stunned!) the day I was induced into the National Honor Society and my dad and mom were in the crowd! My dad NEVER took time off of work in the middle of a work week! But he was there!
We were active participants in our church. We were taught the Word of God. Mom and Dad saw to it that we were in church and Sunday school. They never blinked an eye or hesitated when we said we had a youth meeting. They’d hop in the car and away we went. When it came time for confirmation class, mom and dad made sure that I was able to get there every week. Dad worked with me on studying my memory work for Sunday School and for confirmation class, and he helped me study for our Bible Quiz team in high school. Dad often went with me on youth group camping trips. Yeah, he embarrassed me sometimes, but …what dad doesn’t? I was glad he wanted to go with us! It always embarrassed me in church when the organist would play the intro to the hymn and dad would hum along (REALLY LOUDLY!)…now I really miss hearing that!
Dad and Mom came to visit me no matter where I lived. Saturday mornings at Concordia Ann Arbor would often see that little blue car drive in for a day long visit (until the time he surprised me, and brought 2 cars, he and Uncle Dave in one, and Mom and Aunt Pat in another, and left that little blue Ford Pinto with me! THAT was a huge surprise!) They visited us in Dallas, and in Chicago, in Ft. Wayne, and in Iowa (and then again in Ft. Wayne, and then again in Iowa!)
He was a great dad, and a wonderful grandfather. They came to visit those new babies as soon as they could get to them. It strikes me now, as I look back at pictures, that he was always looking at the grandchildren, instead of the camera! He loved those kids!
I learned so much from Dad. I learned to laugh (at myself or situations), I learned to have a good time no matter where I was or what was going on. I learned to give help when needed. He taught me how to drive (no WAY was Mom going to attempt that!) (And he taught me to be patient with my kids by not losing his temper when I put the car in the ditch twice in one week! Hey…it was icy!)
He taught me to love my family. Family reunions and holidays were never missed. He taught me that it is important to attend family weddings and funerals, and to just go visit when you have a chance. Sunday afternoons were always reserved for visiting Grandma or one of my aunts and uncles.
Some of my earliest memories are of him teaching me to dance. Polka dances were huge, and I learned to dance by standing on the tops of my daddy’s feet…he carried me and taught me to let go when I was ready to do it on my own…now I’ve had to let go and I’m really not ready…
The most important thing that my mom and dad did for me was when I was just 2 weeks old. At that time, they brought me to the waters of Holy Baptism at Emmaus Lutheran Church in Wauseon, OH. Through that water, combined with God’s Word, I was adopted into God’s family and given forgiveness of sins, I was rescued from death and the devil, and I was given eternal salvation. That, my friends, is the best gift my father and mother could have given me. Nothing else really matters. Because of that act on my parents’ part, I know that this goodbye is only a temporary one. While it came (for both of my parents) much, MUCH sooner than we would have wanted, we do have the assurance of that joyful reunion in heaven when God calls me home. I thank God for using my parents to bring me to faith in Him, so that we can all enjoy eternity in that mansion He has prepared for us!
my baptism day
Dad spent lots of time entertaining us by playing Grandpa Miller’s accordion!
Mom and Dad on “their” bench at the Fulton county Fair!
Me and my daddy