Another great influence in my life was my dad. He was the quiet man before John Wayne's movie, displaying an inner strength he gained from his relationship with Jesus. Sometimes, you really had to listen to Dad, but every nugget was worth hearing.
He didn't hold back his flaws or faults, what he had done wrong from childhood on. How he and his brother would act up if his widowed mother had a date or how the gang stole pies warming on window sills. He used his follies to make you feel better when you messed up. Like the time my concussion came from falling off the hood of a car, he told me when they were teenagers, they rode on the running boards of the cars over the narrow bridge with no railing to the cemetery in town. It had a shallow creek about 20 feet below. He had humor about the incidents yet there was no pride. It happened and it was a lesson to help us.
He loved to study his Bible and he was a lay preacher. I know we had pride when he was in the pulpit. He had a great speaking voice for a man who had never completed high school. He was a self-taught man, using a Thompson Chain Reference Bible and reading old sermons- I have the book of sermons from famous preachers- I'm sure, many other sources. He was a reader.
He wanted people to know Jesus. At his funeral and afterward, innumerable remarks, notes and comments were relayed to me how he helped so many in their Christian walk.
He was so funny, too, his joy contagious. Object lessons were a tool of his as well. One time we were in the yard on those long summer evenings, he loved to be outside in his yard, he pulled the small sapling of a tree from the ground, "Mollie, do you know why they call this a tree of heaven?...Because they stink to high heaven." I have a picture from many years later of him trying to get his granddaughter, Michelle, to smell skunk cabbage and I'm sure he was asking her, "Why do you think they call this skunk cabbage?..." She had an even chance and ran! Tree of heaven vs. skunk cabbage.
Like many in that generation, he used descriptive and odd words that sparked my imagination again as a small child. The women in North Africa during WW2 were peek-a-boo girls, so I loved to wear my mother's scarf just under my nose and be a peek-a-boo girl. Yes, we were not PC. Didn't even know what that meant. Just said things they way they looked. There many stories, like with my mother, of the Great Depression, WW2, and the 50's and 60's. It helped we lived in the town where my father grew up. In fact, the story goes he always wanted to live in the house he bought in 1964, that is featured in this blog. I also had his 2nd grade teacher, who also taught my brother- but that is for another day.
He was always honest, yet full of love. I learned that from him and I strive every day to follow his example. and this short blog does not do him justice. That is why it is hard in a way to write. Just keep reading, I'm sure I'll mention him many times again. Some really great stories!