Being as tomorrow is Father’s Day, this post will most assuredly deal with my dad, who has been residing in his forever home for over eighteen years now. We are still living in the house where my parents lived when he passed on. We have ceased to find little reminders that he left behind, but the emotional reminders are still here and we run into them often. We used to run into physical reminders that he had hidden in his out building, stashed in all kinds of nooks and crannies in there. Right now, the biggest thing that makes me smile when I am in that building is the straw cowboy hat that he wore when working in the yard. I try to think of the good memories of my dad when I was growing up, not the sad ones toward the end of his life.
I did run into some old journal entries that brought a grin to my face the other day. Remember, from a previous post, that my dad is the one that did not name me Grace. Well, it seems that he was also the one that got to deal with the initial repercussions of my “non-gracefulness” a number of times; from the “H” scar in my chin, to the blip of a scar on the top of my foot, to the “bicycle incident” as a youngster, along with the unfortunate kick ball game as a teenager. Seems like I was frequently in the middle of a clumsy situation. (I suppose that is putting it nicely!)
The first event, shared by both parents, came even before I could walk, or some semblance of that motion! I was in my walker and tipped over and ended up with a cut in my chin that required two stitches, thus leaving an “H” scar in my chin to this day. Then in early elementary school I was pushing my baby brother’s tricycle with my foot on the back, wedged between top and bottom rungs of metal. At one point, this decorative bar that was on the front of the trike came down and lodged against the front wheel causing me to come to a dead stop. I went tumbling head over foot! When I came up it was to a bloody foot. Seems that the metal from the top rung had gotten me. That required three stitches. That one mom most likely took care of. I think we ran over to Doctor White’s (the company doctor) to get it stitched up.
When I was probably in about the forth grade, my dad got the initial surprise of dealing with the first really “good” one. We did live in an area where there was not a lot of money flowing. We had all that we needed, but not a lot of luxuries. One of the older girls had gotten a new bicycle. She was willing to share, but we had to figure out a fair way to determine who got to ride next. So, someone came up with the bright idea to play bicycle tag and the last one not tagged got to be the next rider. (Never heard of it? Don’t worry, it won’t be sweeping the nation any time soon, as it didn’t catch on very well.) The owner of the new bicycle was going to be the first rider and be “IT” first; because after all it was her bicycle. We all got in a circle around her, and then on the count of three, we busted out running in every direction.
(Can’t you already see that this is not going to end well?) I suppose I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was going. I was more interested in looking back to make sure she wasn’t going to get me. Of course she was going to get me, in tag you always go after the slowest one first! I knew I was had. I turned back around to attempt to pick up the pace and the next thing I knew, thanks to recent rains, there was this mud puddle the size of Lake Michigan right in my path. I came to a dead stop. Well, guess who was right on my tail. Yep, the new bicycle queen. It was not a pretty sight. Since, obviously, sudden stops were technically not supposed to be part of the game, she was not expecting one. She ran into me which caused her to wreck and me to go flying face first into Lake Michigan.
It was a solemn group that walked a wet and muddy me home across the scary bridge (which is another story for another time) that afternoon. We were worried about me getting in trouble for the wet and the mud, then as we got close to my house, one of the older boys noticed that I was bleeding profusely from my rear right calf. We looked down and found this jagged hole in my leg. Poor “IT” bicycle girl saw the bleeding wound and panicked! She ran straight to her house in tears to find my mother. She just knew I was going to bleed to death and die and it would all be her fault for knocking me into Lake Michigan and killing me with her bicycle.
My mother was actually at her house at a Tupperware party that afternoon. She burst in
the door screaming, “Gayle! Gayle! Elaine! Elaine! Gayle! Gayle! Elaine! Elaine! ” They had to give her a little shake to calm her down. They finally got it out of her that she had run me down (into Lake Michigan) with her bicycle. Of course she had not done it on purpose, it had been with my consent, and I was now bleeding to death, although I would not drown in Lake Michigan.
My dad was the parent that was home when the troop escorted me there, and he didn’t quite know what to do, bless his heart. He was good at tackling heavy equipment and mountains of coal and rock, but with blood oozing from his little girl, he was at a bit of a loss. He was going to send for mom, but she had already been alerted and was home shortly.
They rushed me to the emergency room to have the leg stitched up. They plopped me up on an exam table with my mom on one side of me and my dad on the other during this procedure. I kept looking at my dad, hoping he could do something about this crazy doctor, that could barely speak English and who did not believe in any numbing for the pain. Yes, I was crying. Of course, I was crying. I’d just been fished out of Lake Michigan with a gaping wound! You would be crying too! He told me if I did not stop crying that he would make my daddy leave the room. How mean! To this day, I still think that was so mean! So he stitched up my leg, with internal stitches and external stitches with nothing to numb the pain. (Don’t you think that is mean?) I can not really say that I remember the pain, but I guarantee that it was painful! Hateful doctor.
The next one my dad thought he was going to have to tackle on his own, but mom was there…before we left for the emergency room anyhow. I was in junior high this time. A bunch of the neighborhood kids were playing kick ball in my front yard. I kicked the ball and came back down on my left leg in an awkward manner. (Rewind to my blog on “Glimpse of a Summer Camp Kid,” right to the part that reads, “…unnaturally, awkward angle position of the bottom half of my leg… knee cap hanging somewhere down and behind where it was supposed to be located.”) Yes, we were right back there again, complete dislocation. My dad got me loaded up in the car and back to the emergency room we traveled. The doctor that saw me snapped it back into place and told me that I was going to have to learn how, when it started to go out of place, to kick it back into place before it became completely dislocated. Yea, easy for him to say; but at least he did not threaten to make my dad go away! Dads go away all too soon on their own!
My dad was a tall, handsome man; at six foot, six inches, that was the first thing you noticed. He had big brown eyes and an easy smile. He was a quiet man. Did I mention that he was handsome? <GRIN> He was a gentle man. He had a heart that hurt when your heart hurt. He was always respectful of others. He never talked about anyone behind their back or participated in gossip. He was patriotic and did his part via the Air Force (Korean War). He didn’t always know how to be romantic to my mom, but he tried. He always bought her cards (the biggest and most obnoxious) and candy and flowers. He was a good parent, teaching us to try and do the right thing. He also modeled an excellent work ethic. My dad went to work even when he didn’t feel like it. I can say that he is the best man that I have ever had in my life and I was blessed to have such a father.
With a dad like mine, I did not find the picture of God as my Father to be something that I could not accept. I understand that there are many that either do not have a father, or who did not have a caring father. One thing I can say is that if you allow Him to be, God will be your heavenly Father. He will care for you and love you and make you feel like His child. No, I have not always gotten my way and I have one specific, big question in my heart about the why to ask Him one day; and yes, bad things do happen in my life; but through it all, I have had the calm assurance that God has been there and I have never faced daunting circumstances alone.
He is my Father and He has provided a way for me to make my way to Him. He has also made a way for you to make your way to Him. Our pastor has challenged us to share John 3:16 with someone every day throughout the end of the year. I can’t think of a more fitting time to share it than now. This is the way that God has made a way for me, for you, for everyone that will simply believe and accept.
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers out there and to my amazing Heavenly Father too!!
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17 KJV)