There is a song by Gillian Welch titled "I Had a Real Good Mother and Father."

The first two verses:

"I had a real good mother and father
And they surely stood the test
And now are in bright glory
and sleeping on the Savior's breast.

They set a good example for me,
They taught me how to pray,
Now I truly converted
And I'm walking on the narrow way."

This lovely song (from her Soul Journey CD) encompasses everything good about folk music. The simple lyrics are framed by equally sparse, elegant guitar and an aching, beautiful melody that only takes a few listens to grasp. Thus the song is easily recalled and passed down to generations to come.

My parents are still alive and well but this song reminds me of them nonetheless because they have set a good example for me and my brother. I ponder the second verse now and one day far away I will ponder the first verse with tears of joy.

And today I think specifically of my Dad:

James Turner Strother
The golden boy of Pecos
"Scotty" (to my Mom)
Fierce lover of God and His Word
A coach till Kingdom come
Mathematical artisan
Golf enthusiast (addict?)

And much more: a good, God-fearing man. He preached the Gospel to me as I laid in my Barbie sleeping bag mourning the loss of my Meemaw, his mother. I then became a Christian. As I sit here listening to Gillian's music I vividly see and hear my Dad play piano and guitar by ear in our old house on Autauga St. and in their house in Round Rock, TX. I remember calling him "father" once and he said, "God is your heavenly Father, I am your dad." I will be turning 30 this year and Johnny and I will soon have children of our own. I've only reached a small plane of maturity but I now realize good parenting is not recognized by perfection, but by walking in the grace of God and in showers of the blood of Jesus Christ.

Dad, I love you. Thanks for bearing with me and loving me. Today I celebrate you!


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