Saturday, June 8, 2013

Red and White Bobber

My eyes were drawn to the big card. The display was hard to miss. Over-sized cards made especially
for the occasion. A man sat in a boat with a fishing pole in hand. One large red and white bobber with a fishing line covered the corner of the picture. A card for a father. A card for Father's Day.

Brenda and I were our daddies' shadows. Where they went, their youngest followed. We rode on the tractor with our daddies. We followed them around as they did the chores on the farm. We sat in a boat fishing with them. We didn't care if we caught anything. We just enjoyed the time with our fathers who seemed to understand their little, curly headed girls. Brenda's daddy was just about as much mine as was my own.

As I have said before, my dad taught me all I know about nature. He always had time to teach a lesson about the wildlife and flora that shared the place where we lived. I knew each crop well because when Dad worked it, I was there. I rode in the grain wagon as it was harvested, sat in the corn crib as the corn climbed the elevator. I sat in the yard watching bales climb into the hay mow. When tobacco raising took over from the day when the beds were steamed to the days when it was stripped, Dad knew I wouldn't be far away. We watched lambs and calves born together. I learned everything about pigs, horses, rabbits, sheep, cows and chickens.

"I walk right past the mushrooms and you pick them up!" Dad would exclaim. "You have a really good eye for finding them." Well, I either had a really good eye, or he was setting me up for success.

Mom rarely was gone during meal time, but when she was, Dad fixed tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Dad and I roasted hot dogs together. We picked beans and peas in the garden. He pulled me around on the sled when the snow was deep. He made piles of leaves for me to play in when fall settled in. Dad taught me to dive, but he could never get me to swim. He taught me to love music, and gave me a gift each time he sang.

These fathers of ours are precious. They teach us little girls what it is to admire a man. They teach us what a father's love is like. They give us a mighty high mark for other men to live up to. Oh, dads have their flaws. Those, too, teach us along the way. We learn about ourselves in the way we are raised. And, we learn to take the good and try to understand the bad when we become adults. The older we get we see life differently. Sometimes we find gems where we thought there were none. Sometimes we find pieces of ourselves in what has gone before. I was blessed with a good man as my father. Daily I saw his love of the earth and his gentleness in tending it and its creatures. I was blessed.

I thought that I should buy the card. I could visit Newcomer's Cemetery and read it to Dad. It would be better than a bouquet. I loving message from daughter. A message for a father on Father's Day. If you happen that way, don't be surprised to find a red and white bobber placed by the name Willard Loxley. Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you.

Aunt Alma, Brenda, me, Billy, Mom, Dad
On Friday, June 14th, I will be back in Ohio. There are many people I hope to see but am home such a short time. I will spend some time at the BRC, and hope to have a time meeting up with old and new friends in Greenville on Saturday evening. I would love to see those of you who have been so kind to contact me and those who remember Neff Road. If you are interested in joining me, please email me, and I will let you know the details. Would love to see you.

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