He didn’t have much education, but he could spell, read, and do a little arithmetic. He could write his name and do it equally well with both hands, since he was ambidextrous.
He worked two and three jobs all his life. He was a barber and had his own shop when he lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Once he left the mountains, he milked cows, plowed fields, ran a little country store, and worked in the produce section in a grocery store in town and the only hair he cut was his children’s.
He drove a school bus for the county school for over twenty years. Drove that big old yellow bus,number 13,down the dirt roads in the country, even when rain would about wash them out…and never had an accident in all those years he drove.
Back in those days, there were no free handouts, so he worked day in and day out with two hernias the size of grapefruits…one on each side of his body...until he had to have the operation. Then he went back to work way too soon, in order to put food on our table. The surgery came undone and still he worked. Everyday… at least two jobs a day, that paid little to nothing…until he retired.
He had huge bunions, and corns on both his feet and yet he stood on them all day long to make us a living. I use to watch him limp into the house after working all day and my mama pour hot water in a metal basin. I can still see him plain as day, sitting in that old wooden chair with his feet soaking in that tin basin of water. When I get off work now and my feet are tired and hurting, I think about how my poor daddy’s feet had to have hurt so much worse than mine, and it makes me ashamed of my weakness.
One of my first memories is of him rocking me to sleep, all the while singing; ‘Calico girl won’t you come out tonight…come out tonight.’ He did this every night while I was small, because I was his baby girl. ( I remember him singing, ‘You Are My Sunshine’ to my mama. )
He never had to spank us. He never had to yell. He was one of those daddy’s that could give you that look and you would sit your butt down and be quiet in a hurry…but even during those times, we had no doubt that our daddy loved us.
He loved to hunt and fish. He would take all of us kids and mama to church and drop us out and then he would go fishing, coming back for us when church was over! But, knowing this, I have no doubt that he is in Heaven. He was a good man, a God fearing man, worshipping God wherever he was. The way Daddy saw it, he only had one day off and he could fish for our supper and worship God at the same time.
Lying in the hospital bed, the day he died, he told me he was ready to go home. I thought he meant their home in Greensboro, but later that day, he called the preacher to come. I was there when he said the sinner’s prayer with that preacher…and that night, I was there with him when he took his last breath.
No, He wasn't rich and he wasn’t a highly educated man, but he was my first and best male role model. If I tell you that you remind me of my daddy, that is the highest compliment I can give and trust me, I haven’t given it very often, because not many men can fill his shoes. When he was alive, I knew all I had to do was call him and he would be there.
Someone once said;
‘Anyone can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a daddy.’
No truer words spoken…
GOD BLESS YOU ALL.