I learned much from my daddy. He was an intelligent man. I could tell it myself, but I also remember Mother telling me that he was. She was proud of him. He never had an “important” job. He didn’t wear a three-piece suit to work. I remember well the day this photo was taken. Daddy came home from work on a weekday and put on his Sunday suit because Mother wanted us to have this family portrait made. I was used to seeing Daddy in khaki pants, a white uniform shirt with his name on it, and a white bib apron.
Daddy worked in grocery stores for over 40 years. He ordered from the warehouse, put cans on shelves, bagged groceries and carried them to ladies’ cars, and delivered them to homes around town. He loved people. When a customer had an encounter with Daddy, they left smiling. After he retired, his only hobbies were drinking coffee with his buddies and doing word puzzles — and loving his family.
Today is Daddy’s birthday. I miss him. Nine and a half years ago, I went to the eye doctor with Daddy. We had lunch together and he got fitted with a new pair of special shoes to help him with his foot problems. The next morning we talked on the phone. I had no idea it would be the last time I would hear his voice. That night he was in a coma and he died the next day, just before Christmas. I had turned fifty years old three weeks before. When Ray had asked me what I wanted to do on my birthday, I said, “Let’s go see Mother and Daddy. How many fifty-year-olds get to do that on their birthday?” We did and, oh, how thankful I am.
Just a couple of weeks before that, Daddy had come to stay with us for several days while Mother went to a homemaking convention. While he and I were shopping one day, Daddy impulsively bought me roses. He had never done that before. I had been so pleased and had even kept the petals. They are still in a little blue and white box in my living room. Wasn’t God kind to give me these wonderful presents — roses, a birthday with Daddy and Mother, and a day with Daddy right before he died?
I was amazed when over 450 people came to the funeral home to show our family how much they loved my daddy. They did not come because Daddy was famous or had done some great thing in the eyes of the world. They came because Daddy had loved people and taken time for them. Daddy knew so many people. He remembered their names and often had special nicknames for them. He loved to make people laugh and to laugh with them. People said things like, “Charles was a Christian man;” “I always loved your daddy;” and “Your daddy sure loved his children and grandchildren.” I told them that no two children were ever loved by a daddy like Steve and I were loved by ours.
Do you want each of your children to be a success? I don’t think the world would rate my daddy’s career particularly high on a success scale, but just ask anyone who knew him. Daddy was a success. Your children can be, too.
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth,
but you shall meditate on it day and night,
so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it;
for then you will make your way prosperous,
and then you will have success.