Once your father is no longer with you, Father’s Day is not quite the same. Mine is always in my heart and I’m blessed to have some wonderful memories. It’s been 16 years, which is hard to believe and while it does get a little easier, there is always that hole in your heart.
There are always days, I would like to pick up the phone and hear him say “hey doodlebug” or “doodle” , his pet name for me. He called me that because I was always writing or drawing something. We also had a lot of what we called doodlebugs in our backyard and I was always asking him about them.
For any question I had about things going on in my life, especially about gardening or politics, Daddy always had an answer. We disagreed over politics most of the time but there was always a healthy back and forth exchange of ideas and opinions. There were times he goaded me about something political to get a rise out of me. It was something he got a kick out of and made him chuckle.
There are times a girl just truly needs her daddy to make things right. Lately, I have had a lot of questions about the garden. I know quite a bit, but when things go wrong or plants don’t perform as in the past or as they should, I want to know what to do differently. Daddy could always tell me. I’ve found myself talking out loud wondering what Daddy would tell me to do to get my tomatoes back on track.
Special days like his birthday, the date of his death, holidays and Father’s Day tend to bring up more memories.
This week I was just thinking about an accident I had which I never told daddy about. He had a yellow Chevrolet truck. Not sure the model but I think it was a 1962 or 64 which he had bought after I was born. He had the truck all of my life up to that point. It was summer and daddy was on TDY overseas. I only had a learner’s permit. My brother and I decided we wanted to go downtown. I don’t remember the reason, but I am sure it was my brother’s idea!
You got it. I grabbed the keys to the truck and we headed downtown. To turn that big ole’ truck, I had to place all of my weight behind it. To top it off, it was a straight shift, but Daddy had made sure, that was what I learned to drive on first.
We were headed home and stopped at a stop sign on Second Street. Another car turned too sharp onto the street and hit the driver’s side light on the truck. I was upset and it didn’t cross my mind until later, but the kids in the car, older than my brother and I, acted very strange. They were smoking who knows what.
I didn’t know whether to wait on the police or not but I knew I would be in trouble with only a learner’s permit. The truck did not have any damage at all and the other car, only a slight dent.
We talked about what we should do and everyone decided it wasn’t enough damage to get the police involved, so we all left. There was no insurance information exchanged in case we changed our minds; no tag numbers or phone numbers given out. Bubba and I went home and I washed Daddy’s truck to take another look and make sure there really wasn’t any damage. There wasn’t but I was practically holding my breath the whole time until after Daddy got home and didn’t notice anything about the truck.
It was my first and last time doing anything like that and fortunately I turned 16 at the end of that year and got my license. Over the years, I forgot about that incident and I don’t know why the memory of it surfaced last week.
In retrospect, knowing my Daddy, had I told him, I would have gotten a lecture on why we shouldn’t have done it and what could have happened. Secretly, he would have smiled about it. It was a mild stunt compared to some of the ones he pulled while he was growing up that he told us about.
Another memory which cropped up was when I almost drowned in Cochran at Lake Linda. I could swim but I stepped in a hole which was over my head and I panicked. I was seven at the time. I was going under for the third time when Daddy lifted me up out of the water. He had shoes on and was fully clothed. It was the first time ever I saw the look of panic in his eyes.
I was more worried that he had gotten his shoes wet, something Mom was always warning us about. He smiled and just said they would dry out. I was sent for more swimming instruction after that incident and many years later would become certified as a lifeguard.
Daddy loved coffee and no one could make it as strong as he did. He was about the only one who could drink his coffee. He always drank it black. It tasted awful to me and had I not tried coffee made by someone else, I probably would have never started drinking it. There was not enough sugar and creamer in the world to make his drinkable for me.
We always sang together. Daddy played guitar and I the piano. But on long trips we would sing acappella. Since he went to heaven, in times of stress or when I feel down, two songs we sang the most always come to mind. They comfort and strengthen me: On the Wings of a Dove and Rainbow of Love.
Sometimes memories may make us sad and miss the person even more. But memories keep those we love alive and bring us comfort when needed and I am thankful for the memories of times with my Daddy.
Happy Father’s Day!©2017
VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org