I loved my daddy and was very much “Daddy’s little girl.”
People would ask me who I was and I would reply, “Dinah Grace John Pearson.”
It seemed to me that this was a very quick way to identify your father by including his name into yours.
There’s a man in town who almost always calls me that when he sees me to this very day. We always share a little chuckle over this.
I thought my daddy hung the moon. He always took us places wanting to show us around the area where he grew up or interesting places in the state. We went camping and enjoyed many of the State Parks. He loved the great outdoors.
He made little toys for me, many of them that he had made as a child during the depression. He even tried to market one of them and he took a few of my friends and I to the TV station in Columbus to demonstrate it on the “Uncle Bunky” show. It was a little wheel that we pushed around and steered with a stick. We had a lot of fun.
When I was in first grade I loved to read about Dick and Jane’s pony. I wanted one of my own and I begged for it. That was right up his alley and we had a small pasture behind the house with a shed so he bought me a pony! We even had a cart for Trigger. ( I’m sure he wanted me to be a barrel racer because he loved the rodeo.)
But Trigger was so stubborn- he “clotheslined” me and rubbed me up against a barb-wire fence so he had to go! I had lots of scars from that episode. I cried so hard when he whipped him even though that pony had torn my leg up.
Having grown up in the Depression Daddy was the first-born child of a very stern father who was a school principal and superintendent. He was old-school and expected a lot from us academically and around the house.
He expected us to do our very best and make good grades. When I brought home my report card he acknowledged that I was on Honor Roll or Headmaster’s list but asked why my grades weren’t better. I really wanted his approval. I know that he wanted to make sure I had done my best but it was hard to swallow. He told me how his father had pushed him and I realized that he was also pushing me but, thankfully, not quite as hard. Even though it hurt me I came to understand why he did this and to overlook it. I also learned to evaluate my own efforts, do my best and find a sense of self-fulfillment from knowing that I’d done a good job.
He taught us how to work hard starting in the yard.
We had a list chores to do and were taught to work around the house, wash the car, and assist our parents in whatever needed to be done. Chores were to be finished before he came home.
He had a laundry business in several surrounding towns. On Saturday, Mother and I went to Philadelphia to check on the laundry and collect the money from the machines so I learned to count and roll change very early on.
One summer when I was a teenager he decided to build a “worm farm.” He set up several raised beds in the back pasture and filled them with dirt. Every day I was to shovel and haul a certain number of wheelbarrow loads of barnyard and put them into the worm beds. (Our neighbor, Coach Art Nester, observed me doing this every morning and told me I could try out for the football team if I wanted to.)
Daddy became a traveling salesman when I was in Junior high. It was about the time when many kids are more interested in their friends than parents. I got used to him being gone. I was doing more things with my friends. When he came home he wanted me to spend time at home with him but I wanted to be with me friends.
There was conflict.
However he made an effort to continue taking me and my friends places. He enjoyed playing jokes on us and picking at us which sometimes embarrassed me. The inevitable interest in boys complicated matters (as I now understand ).
After I had been driving awhile he bought Momma a new car and gave me her old ‘69 Chevelle station wagon which was around 8 years old. I wanted a newer car, definitely not a station wagon, but it did hold a lot of my friends!
He tried to compromise with me and told me if I would hand-sand it that he would pay for having it painted which he did… that’s another whole story !
That green monstrosity was a great motivator for me to save and buy my own car. He sold the station wagon and gave me the money to put down on the car. He signed the note with me for a “new to me” Monte Carlo. I worked at Piggly Wiggly to make the payments; my parents paid the insurance.
I have come to understand that my dad (and mom) was a product of his parent’s rearing and he did what he thought was best to rear us, passing on his work ethic. He wanted his daughters to be strong and independent. I am thankful for that!
Every child probably thinks that they will do things differently and do a better job of rearing their children than their parents did.
You see your child’s personality, strengths and weaknesses, some of which are like yours. You want to try to help them avoid the mistakes you made. We find out that parenting is a hard job, full of challenges.
No one living had a perfect father or mother, yet we sometimes wrestle with our ideas of what our parents could have or should have done differently. We may even blame them for issues that we dealt with and children or are dealing with now.
My earthly father was a flawed man just as his father before him… just as I am. I know there were times I said or did things that hurt his feelings and made me seem unappreciative.
I know this is a hard day for many… maybe you didn’t have a father in your life.
Maybe you had a father who didn’t fit the image of the perfect dad on the greeting cards or commercials.
You may have lost your dad and you realize that he was only doing what he felt was the right thing in rearing you.
Maybe you long to be able to apologize for things you may have done to hurt him.
Our heavenly Father is perfect. He longs to be your perfect Father too. He forgives and can heal your hurts.
Whatever undesirable traits that I am dealing with in my personality, whatever circumstances I’ve faced in my childhood or adult life, My Father can help me through all of them and He will help you too.
He has promised to be there with us in the midst of our trials.
I have a choice: I can dwell on these things and become bitter or I can surrender them to Him and get better.
Every morning I pray over a list of aspirations, all of which are centered around God’s will for my life.
The last one is that I would share my struggles with those that read my writings, not to bring attention to the struggles but for the purpose of bringing God glory and bringing people closer to the realization that whatever has happened in my (your) life was first filtered through God’s hands for a reason and He can use it for His good purpose.
Secondly, that God can and does use ALL of these things God works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Happy Father’s Day. I love you, Daddy.