Friday, June 11, 2010
Every little girl thinks that her dad stands head and shoulders above the crowd. Mine really did. Dad was a massive man, six feet five inches tall and 250 pounds of father. When I was a little girl, I thought he was the most handsome man in the world. I never really changed my mind.
Dad would have turned 72 today. I have thought on and off about writing of him, but it just seemed that I couldn’t really do him justice… couldn’t really convey on the written page just what a huge man he was.
His hands were huge. A cousin still tells the story of how my dad was his hero, how he boasted to his friends that his Uncle Dave could crack a walnut with one bare hand. To a kid, that was a big thing. Dad made everything look so effortless.
His feet were huge. He grew up in a time when size fourteen shoes weren’t available. His mother bought the largest shoes she could find, and he would squeeze into them. Dad just plodded along…
His voice was huge, and his laugh was huge, but most of all, his heart was huge. And when he committed to something, he did so with every inch of that huge heart.
He was committed to his company. He was passionate about his community. He loved his country, and even cancer couldn’t keep him in his wheelchair when his flag was passing by.
But more than that...
He was committed to his family. He was committed to his wife. He was committed to his God.
Dad knew what mattered.
He was a busy man, yet as much as was in his power, he never missed an event for a child or a grandchild. It must have been frustrating for such a manly guy to live in the world of pink and ruffles. I’m sure he would have preferred ball games to recitals and Pinewood Derbies to band concerts, but he never complained. He wasn’t there for the event, he explained; he was there for the child. Dad believed that every child should be able to look out into the crowd and know that someone was there for no other reason than to smile back at them.
Maybe that’s why God made him so huge… so he could stand head and shoulders above the crowd while he was doing it.
It’s been 11 years since that summer of ’99 when Dad lost his fight with cancer. Time marched on without our permission, and we have sat as a family through countless opportunities to smile back at Dad’s grandchildren.
We have cheered at cross country meets and applauded at band concerts. We’ve smiled back when they received honors,
And even though I miss him every day, it’s at those times that I miss him the most. Often, I catch myself glancing at the Duchess, half expecting to see him sitting there with her, smiling back.
Of course, he isn’t there.
But by faith I know where he is.
And though my mind can’t comprehend what it will be like to stand in Glory, one thing I know:
My dad is smiling.
And so I try to sit up just a little bit taller, and I smile back.