Jun 19, 2012

Thoughts about my Dad

Yesterday was Father's Day - one of the most underwhelming holidays on our national scene.  As I said in my sermon yesterday, most of the time when it's Mother's Day the pastor preaches on the virtues of godly mothers.  However, on Father's Day, he berates the few dads that actually showed up at church with their families for not doing enough.  Being a father of 4, I am extremely honored to be called "Dad".  As I reflected on Father's Day, I had some thoughts about my Dad I wanted to put on my blog.  However, since I spent all day either at church or traveling on the road to New Orleans, I didn't get the chance.  And since my dad doesn't own a computer and has never been on the Internet in his life and has no idea what a blog is, putting them up a couple of days late won't hurt.

I love my dad.  In many ways, he has become a very good friend.  He was for the most part a fun dad and is a fun grandad to my kids. He has always had an amazing sense of humor and the ability to make friends with almost anyone anywhere he finds himself.  The older I get, the more I turn into my dad.  My wife laughs all the time when we stand next to each other with the same pot bellies.  I say the same statements to my kids that my dad said to me all the time.  I find myself rolling my eyes and sighing just like he used to do whenever my kids or wife are taking too long. 

Here are a few things where my dad's influence shows up the most:
I got my passionate love for Mississippi State sports from him.  Although he grew up in Michigan and moved here in his 20's, my dad quickly adopted the Bulldogs as his favorite team south of the Mason-Dixon.  I remember spending many days with my dad going to Bulldog double headers at Dudy Noble Field.  I remember when MSU defeated then #1 Alabama in 1980 and my dad went screeching down the road blaring the horn.  It isn't often that we talk that something related to sports in Starkville isn't brought up.
I got my love for the game of baseball and all the intricacies of the game from him.  My dad is a baseball trivia junkie.  He loved the Detroit Tigers growing up and still does.  His hero was Al Kaline.  Mine was Pete Rose.  My dad was an umpire for about 20 years because he loved the game.  One of my vivid memories was that my dad subscribed to Baseball Digest all my younger years.  When he would finish with it, he would give it to me.  I would read through the profiles on players, but my favorite was reading the "You Make the Call" section and listening to my dad explain the rules of the game to me. 
I got my fascination with the mail and the postal service from him.  For most of my life, my dad was a postman in Columbus, MS.  He delivered routes all over my hometown and everyone knew "Ol' Blue".  When I was a kid and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always answered "a postman" because that's what my dad was.  Even to this day, I eagerly go out to the mail box to see what awaits me in there.  When I moved away to seminary, I received a card almost every week from my dad in my post office box.
I learned to love fishing from my dad.  When I was a kid, we would pack up the fishing poles and a bucket of crickets and go fishing for bream and crappie. We would catch dozens of them and then deliver them to the widowed, African-American ladies on his postal route.

For many years, I was concerned about where my dad stood with Jesus.  I came to faith in God in my later teenage years and would often hear from people in my church how much they were praying for my dad.  He didn't go to church often, but he did come to hear me preach my first sermon. A few years ago, my dad was diagnosed with testicular cancer.  It was a very big awakening for him. God used this to draw my dad unto himself.  He found the grace of Christ in his late 50's.  One of my greatest memories in ministry is baptizing my dad and step-mom.

I know you won't read this dad, but I hope you had a great Father's Day and I hope you know how proud I am to be called your son.