Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's day from a farmer's daughter!

We had a Father's Day sermon in church today like so many other churches on this day that we honor our fathers. Reverend Johnson spoke on how the role of the father has changed over the years attributing it perhaps to the industrial age. The farm families had their fathers home all day working hand in hand with their children. The children were taught by example to respect and pay attention to their fathers. Since early mid-century, so many fathers have worked outside the home. I must admit that there is a difference. Not that fathers don't love their children just as much, but there's just something about being there 24/7.

It made me think of my own father who was a farmer. I saw him as a hard working, generous, humble and honest man - a man who sacrificed so much for his children and who loved our mother with all his heart. I remember him as a Godly man - one who on Saturday would carefully count the money in his tithing jar and put it in an envelope to be put in the collection plate on Sunday morning - and he attended church every Sunday morning and made sure we did the same.

I saw him as a man that I respected to the point that he rarely had to discipline me - I tried so hard to be good so I wouldn't disappoint him. He could just give me "the eye", and I knew I needed to change directions in whatever I was doing. Not that I didn't get in trouble, mind you - but just not under his watchful eye.

Some of my best memories are of those summer days on the farm. These are just a few of them:

1. Coming out of the fields in the heat of the day to cut a watermelon that had been cooling in ice cold water - my dad saving the "heart" of his piece for me, claiming he liked the part closer to the rind better.
2. Sitting under a shade tree stringing and cutting green beans, shelling peas or peeling peaches for canning and listening to his gentle laughter as he told stories of his childhood on the farm.
3. Helping him hitch up the mules for plowing - something he let me do only a handful of times and with great anxiety. He watched every move I made for fear that Old Mary would give me a swift kick in the head. I still can't figure out why I wanted that job since three times out of five, Mary would pee or poop during the process.
4. Running around the yard playing while listening to him talking with the hired hands as they took an afternoon break from the sun - letting the sweat dry out from their clothes only to be dripping wet when they came in again.
5. Chasing lightning bugs on warm summer evenings and putting them in a jar. He would punch holes in the lid with his pocket knife and put a few blades of grass in jar. He said it made them feel more at home. I always wondered why the next day the fireflies were gone from the jar. I'm sure he released them when I grew bored with the game.

At the time, I didn't realize how blessed I really was. I do now... Wishing you a happy Father's Day in heaven Daddy! I hope God is letting you tend His fields! You were the best!

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