“For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers…”I Corinthians 4:15a
As the scripture states there are many teachers, but not many that can father. There are men that have sired children but there are unfortunately not many that know how to be a father…if you have or have had a true father then count your blessings…I had one…
My Dad, a gentle man, born May of the year 1919, was a precious, precious father. If it is true that we get our first impression of what we think God is like by the example our fathers set, then my impression of God from as far as I can remember is that He is loving, kind, protective and yes, gentle.
Though my Dad came from a childhood of poverty in the south, back in the days when African Americans were looked upon as not being human beings; where the stereotype had already been cast that blacks, especially black males were lazy; he always found work and was never too proud to take menial jobs so that he could make some money to contribute to the pot for his parents and siblings.
This work ethic carried over into his adult years, where he worked at a paper mill for many, many years. He used to tell us stories of how the African American males had to eat their lunch sitting up on the rafters of the plant, because they were not allowed to eat with the “regular” folks, even though they did some of the same jobs. He told us stories of how as a black male you were not allowed to look a white person in the eyes, and if you did, you were called disrespectful and even worst could happen. But through all of this time of his life, my dad remained a gentleman. When he told us stories of this kind, it was not with bitterness, but to caution us. You see he loved his family very much and living during those times came with an extra concern for safety. And that even though he and my mom gave us a safe, nurturing and loving haven, outside of that was a world that could be very cruel.
When I was very young every chance that I got I followed my dad. Even a short trip to the hardware store was an adventure to me. My dad could fix anything…or at least my siblings and I thought. The story goes of my oldest brother Calvin who when he was a little kid had a balloon that burst and while stifling back tears he said bravely, “that’s alright, my daddy can fix it with a nail!” Daddy oh Daddy you were our hero! J
He was a wonderful provider that saw that we had everything we needed as well as most of our wants. Each summer he always made sure that we all went on a trip, usually to Buffalo, New York or Philadelphia. All six of us at the time, would pile into our car and travel for over 16 hours (probably more). Despite the fights amongst us kids and the threats of putting us out beside the road, those were good times. We would always stop in the mountains of New York to picnic and take pictures. And when I would ask my dad how much longer did we have to go, his answer would always be “Oh about another thousand miles.” With that I would collapse in the back seat with a groan! Usually landing on the toe or foot of my one of my siblings that brought a big yelpl! LOL
Another one of my fondest memories is of him asking (his wife) mom for some “sugar”. He knew that she would be embarrassed when he did this in front of us, but it always brought a secret smile to her face. He would pucker up and make a kissing noise and try to grab her to smooch! It always brought laughter to us! Such wonderful memories we have of you Dad.
Thanks Dad for being the man that you were, so solid, full of integrity and with such love. Thanks for being that example of what a real man should be like. Thanks for not bending or swaying under the pressures of being a man, an African American man during a time when it was almost unbearable. Thank you for relying on God to help you be steadfast, immovable and consistent in taking care of your wife and family. I miss you today and always. You will always be in my heart…I love you Dad.