Well, it’s Father’s Day again. So far, I have had a wonderful weekend with my wife and two sons. Great thing being a “Dad”. One of those priceless gifts we get along the way. As I enjoy my day, I can’t help but think back to being a kid and my Dad. He died when I was six.
My Dad was a great man, at least it sure looks that way according to what he was able to do in only 35 years. When I think about that, it is hard to believe that my own sons are older than that now and at age 35, my Dad was gone.
He loved people and education. He was Chairman of the School board where we lived then and was a Deacon in the Baptist Church. He was a businessman and worked at the mill as an accountant and in his own insurance business. He helped to start a building and loan bank and helped other people start their lives. He loved to help people in need.
He was a musician and played mandolin, guitar and fiddle. I have always felt comfortable around those instruments and think people must inherit some of those things too. I still have all his instruments and they sit around as constant reminders of the man he became.
At the nursing home church today, I dedicated all my music to my Dad. I picked some of the songs I can barely remember that he loved and played back in the 1940′s. Songs like, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”, “Sweet Hour of Prayer” and “Peace in the Valley”. The folks at the nursing home seemed to like them too and many of them could recall the songs themselves, at least for the moment. I had a time deciding on the songs since Dad love hymns and there were so many. I know he sang and loved to sing them all.
When I was trying to decide, I started playing “Sweet Hour of Prayer” on my guitar and thought that would be a good song, remembering it was a favorite for sure. I knew I had the words to it in my music folder but couldn’t find it. Looked several times through the folder and it just wasn’t there. I decided to put up my guitar and go find the words again so I would have them and as I opened my case, there inside in the case, right on top of a couple pieces of paper were the words for which I was searching. It was like they were going with me anyway, even if it didn’t think about them or find them. I guess that song was already ‘picked’.
I have to say a word of ‘thanks’ to my Dad for sharing his talents with me. I regret that we never got to play any music together but I remember hearing him play and remember him getting together with friends to ‘make music’ and mostly, they played hymns. He loved music and so do I. Thanks Dad for all you did in the short time you were around. Sometimes my memory of that is a blur but then, sometimes, there are moments that are clear as a bell.
I think Dad was with me this morning at ‘church’ and helped me get through those special songs he loved. He would often say that he wasn’t a great singer but he would sing and say the words of songs. He would put short breaks into the song and focus on the words, like they really had meaning to him and were as important as the tune of the song. He emphasized the words and the meaning when he sang. That’s what I attempted to do this morning. The folks at the nursing home seemed in a trance. It was so quiet as I was singing and playing. Everyone was watching and listening to me and to the words of the song, not just the music.
Their appreciation of the songs was obvious and I was so glad they enjoyed them. I enjoyed doing them too and felt I had some special help to get them done.
It has been a great Father’s Day and I sure am glad I had a Father like I did, even for such a short time. His spirit runs through my instrument and his love is in my soul. Thanks again Dad for everything – then and now. And “Happy Father’s Day” too. By the way, MOM became a great ‘Mom AND Dad” as you know I guess. So I did OK but I sure do wish we could have played a couple of those songs together a few times. That would have been really special.
Love to all – “Doc” Elwood