Friday, June 18, 2010
Honoring The Honorable On Father's Day ...
I'll begin with a somewhat amusing story I heard somewhere long ago, it's an old one and it isn't mine, but with a bit of embellishment and rephrasing I will attempt to share it with you here ... a farmer was traveling along a country road on his way home when he came upon a huge hay wagon that had overturned and was now lying on it's side ... two young fellows were frantically trying to upright the wagon back onto it's wheels using only pitchforks and shovel handles as the triple-digit heat of the afternoon sun nearly roasted them to the bone ... it so happens that those two young fellows were none other than Lamar Beefeater and Luther DooLittle ... the farmer seeing their obviously futile efforts stopped to enquire if he might render some assistance ... "What happened boys? ... can I lend you a hand?" the helpful farmer asked ... Luther DooLittle, his clothes soaked with sweat, his throat parched from thirst hoarsely replied "sir, I layed 'er over so a tractor could pass by comin' from the opposite direction, must have dropped 'er wheels into a rut or groundhog hole and tipped er' over on 'er side ... then the mule broke loose and run off ... there she lays ... and if we don't get 'er flipped back upright real soon my daddy's gonna be awful mad" ... the kind farmer thought about it for a moment and taking into consideration the boys failed attempts at getting that wagon back on it's wheels in the searing heat of the hot afternoon sun he said "well fellers, why don't you ride on up to the house with me, have some cold drinks, eat some supper and rest for a while until the beaming sun dies down a bit? ... then I'll come back down here with my tractor and help you fellers upright that wagon ... by that time your mule will probably have come back and will be waiting on you" ... Luther said "I don't know, my daddy's gonna be awful mad" ... at which the farmer assured Luther that he knew his daddy well, and insisted that everything would be just fine if the boys took a break ... so Luther and Lamar gladly went along with the farmer ... now about five hours later, Lamar and Luther now all rested up and refreshed were just finishing up a delicious supper prepared by the farmer's wife when Luther reminded the farmer that they really should get back and upright that overturned wagon as soon as possible 'cause "daddy's gonna be awful mad" ... the farmer gulped down the last of his fresh buttermilk, wiped his chin with his kerchief and asked "by the way Luther, where is your daddy today anyhow?" ... with a hint of bewilderment Luther DooLittle looked that ol' farmer right in the eyes then sheepishly replied "underneath that hay wagon!"
Now on a more serious note ... nearly a century ago amid the Big Bend hills of Washington, darkness was settling over a lonely farmhouse ... a weary father sat at the kitchen table, his head bowed in sorrow as about him huddled his sobbing children ... outside the howling March winds splayed eerie streaks of powdered snow across the icy window panes ... suddenly the youngest tore himself from his father's grip and darted into the stormy night calling for his dear mother ... but the only sounds piercing the darkness were doleful moans from the maddened tempest, and that of a piteous child's broken heart ... the father hastily gathered the little boy back into the safety of his arms, and for more than the two decades William Jackson Smart, alone, kept tireless vigilance over his motherless children ... this poignant experience in the life of Mrs. John Bruce Dodd of Spokane, Washington, who was then Sonora Louise Smart, was the inspiration for Father's Day which materialized through the devotion of this father, and the father of her own son, John Bruce Jr., born in 1909 ... through the observance of the love and the sacrifice of fathers everywhere, her idea of Father's Day emerged in 1910, through a formal Father's Day petition asking for recognition of fatherhood.
Sunday is Father's Day ... if you love and appreciate your father, then by all means let him know just that this Father's Day no matter how elaborate or simple the gesture ... it will mean more to him than you could imagine ... I never had the privilege of getting to know my 'real' dad, and it seems he had little interest in knowing me ... however, my great grandfather took it upon himself to stand in as my father ... and although he passed away when I was but five years of age, he demonstrated to me all the attributes of what a genuine father--and a man--should be during those five short years ... I often think of my grandfather ... the positive influence he had on my life continues unto this very day ... he and my grandmother took me in as a child, they had little money or worldly goods, but they both had a wealth of love to give ... they certainly were pleased to share that love with me ... I love you Grandad! ... Happy Father's Day! ...
"Walking With Grandpa"
"I like to walk with Grandpa,
his steps are short like mine.
He doesn't say, "Now hurry up!"
He always takes his time.
I like to walk with Grandpa,
his eyes see things like mine;
a birdie bright, a funny cloud,
a penny that really shines.
Most people are in a hurry,
they do not step and see;
I'm glad God made Grandpa patient,
and almost as young as me."
Poem by Rodney O. Hurd
Portrait by Lauritz Andersen Ring