On June 20th I wrote about my Dad in light of Father's Day. Those fond recollections are always with me especially when I miss my parents and even more so today on my Dad's birthday. As with many fathers and children, I do remember several occasions of butting heads with my Dad as a result of our mutual stubbornness and my very bad, stupid habit of rolling my eyes in reaction to something he said. I believe I was spanked most often for rolling my eyes towards my Dad. In those days it did not seem like a big deal - I wasn't lying to him or stealing or anything. Looking back I wish I could erase every eye roll. My Dad once told me eye rolling indicated a lack of respect for him and his instruction. He was 100% correct and I repent while remembering those ridiculous eye rolls.
I do not possess any lack of respect for my Dad today. I admire the past spankings which I deserved and were often enforced with a book lying on my bed. I don't know if that was intentional but it was brilliant seeing as books are one of my favorite things and quite heavy, too. I am no perfect lady by any means but he raised me well - discipline is important.
Last night I drove all over the ink-black city of Houston glittered with light posting Johnny's drum lesson signs on various bulletin boards. I think a lot when I drive and last night my musings were of my Dad. I remembered fond stories and memories:
~ When he first asked my Mom on a date he said, "Would you like to go to a movie?" When she said yes he said, "Good! I'll find someone to take you."
~ When I was 2 or 3 (let's just say very young) he attempted to teach me to swim by throwing me in a pool. He laughed in delight as my Mom fretted. He soon jumped in after me. I never did learn to swim by official method though I loved to swim underwater.
~ He did not create in me a fear of water. Some of my favorite memories are the Hammerly swimming pool: me, Jody, and my Dad went regularly and I remember swirling 'round and 'round in somersaults then hugging my Dad's warm, wet chest feeling utterly safe.
~ In our first house in Houston (I was tiny) I would get up at the crack of dawn to sit at the table while he graded papers before heading off to school. (Oh, how times have changed. I'm just now mentally waking up at 11:30 AM!)
~ Once we went to pick out one puppy, the runt of the litter later named Tiffany (a.k.a. Tiffy). But her brother's (Taffy) cute face was too much for us, even my Dad. So we brought home Tiffy and Taffy
~ I am no athelete but my Dad wisely encouraged me to play two sports during my years of middle school. I remember enjoying volleyball and receiving the "Most Improved Player" award in 8th grade. However, I sucked at basketball, my Dad's favorite sport. Regardless, he sincerely cheered me on even when I scored a basket for the other team. When I jammed my poor finger I said, "Dad, it hurts when I move it like this." He said, "Don't move it like that."
~ My Dad and I used to play simple duets on the piano together. I cannot remember the titles to those melodies but we are still able to sit down and play them today.
~ Me, Jody, and my Dad consumed countless Italian ices at the Astrodome during Jody's and mine Astro Buddy years. I never did get into baseball but I loved hanging out with my two favorite boys at the time. Plus, I had a crush on Craig Biggio. (Now I have three favorite boys: Johnny, Dad, and Jody.)
~ I love my Dad's sense of humor and always laugh at his jokes even when no one else does - he does make me laugh.
~ He is a Coach in every cell of his body. He is the reason that basketball and football games on TV are a soothing background noise to me even now.
~ A few years ago (pre-Johnny) we spent Christmas at my uncle Bobby's house. On the way we stopped in a small Texan town - Van Alstyne, I think. My Mom spied an adorable old soda fountain shoppe/antique store. As we got out of the car I managed to slam the car door all the way shut on my finger. It took less than a minute for the intense pain to register and once it did I could not speak. My Dad caught the look on my face and later told me he instantly saw me as a little girl again, unlocked the car, and rushed over to open my door. We then went inside to enjoy an old-fashioned vanilla Coke to raise my blood sugar so I would not faint.
~ At my perfect wedding he sweetly choked up while we waited right outside the door to the sanctuary and continued to do so while walking me down the aisle. The fact that he loves Johnny is a massive blessing to me and my husband.
(Johnny loves my Dad equally.)
~ My Dad prays for me, Jody, Johnny, my Mom and our family. In all of his humanity he never ceased to teach me and Jody the Gospel and I count that his greatest characteristic. I believe a good parent does this within the context of mutual forgiveness in a family.
Happy birthday, Daddio. I love you!