What memories trigger thoughts of your father? We cannot measure the influence dads have on their children; it helps to remind us of the responsibility and privilege we now hold as parents and grandparents. In ways our dads blessed us we give our heavenly Father thanksgiving. We release our fathers from their failings and receive peace and healing.
My Dad, Franklin F. Ford touched my life in so many ways. I remember sitting in his lap when a very young girl and feeling his whiskers rub against my cheek. Dad showed his kids and grandkids how to tie our shoes, using the two loops, bunny ears method. He taught me how to ride a bike, and along with Mom tried to teach me to swim. He also served as my driving instructor, but that job needed the extra patience of my husband several years later.
Dad gave me the example of hard work rewards. (2 Thessalonians 3:10) He often worked two jobs, yet kept up our house repairs, did yard work, and helped Mom with chores. No job was ever beneath him. He gave me great appreciation for wood items, because he put finishing touches on crafted items at Stickley Furniture Company.
I often think of my Dad when I view rolling hills, trees, streams, or animals, big or small. Dad thrived when he could be outdoors, gardening, cutting grass, taking long walks, or in later years enjoying his wooden swing. Even in dangerously high temperatures he would be outside every chance he got.
Dad lived a troubled life, but in his happy moments, sounds of his laughter filled our house and our memories. He laughed in pure simple pleasure! I guess Dad’s biggest life lesson was to love and show concern for family. We never got too old or too far away to be on Dad’s mind. He waited for letters and phone calls to learn the latest news about our families and looked forward to visits.
Reading books as he worked long hours as a plant security guard for General Electric now holds special meaning. I can see all those paper back westerns tucked in his lunch box, and know he would be proud of my writing. If Dad still lived I would be calling soon to share the latest family happenings; instead I’ll curl up in his lap in my memories and feel his whiskers against my cheek…