For Father’s Day Week: My Daddy

It is my immense good fortune that several fatherly men have featured prominently in my life.  Because I can’t do them justice in a single post, this week I will be honoring and remembering the fathers and grandfathers that have loved, influenced and supported me and my family.  The first of these, of course, is my own father.


As I’ve said in an earlier post (Some Thoughts on My Father, October 2011), I consider myself exceptionally blessed to be my father’s daughter.  He is remarkable in his emphatic, never-flagging love for me.  He is lively, light-hearted, optimistic and fun.  He is brave.  He is my champion.  He makes me want to be the person he thinks I am.


 When I was young, any time spent with Daddy was quality time.  From the very start, he was a devoted, enthusiastic father.  He played, he joked, he brought zest to the everyday routine.  And he has always known how to make things happen. In this photo, I was not quite two years old.  I wanted very badly to pet the neighbor’s cat, but it most definitely did not want to deal with me.  Daddy persuaded the cat that I was a friend worth meeting.  I got to see the fluffy kitty up close, and I was delighted.  Delighted in the cat, delighted in my father.  Evidently this was several years before my allergy to cats kicked in.


There was no safer, more comforting place for me as a child than in my father’s arms.


I love this slightly blurry old photo because it captures Daddy and me at an almost giddy moment.  I can’t remember what we were laughing about, but I remember the wonderful feeling.


My father and me in St. Augustine in the 1970s.  We never took a lengthy annual vacation, but Mama and I often accompanied Daddy on his short business trips around the South.  He always found time to take us exploring, to see the sights, to eat seafood with us every night, and best of all, to swim in the motel pool with me.  I learned to swim in a Holiday Inn in Waycross, Georgia, thanks to Daddy’s guidance. To this day, the first shock of cold water in any swimming pool takes me back to the times when I used to cling to Daddy, shivering, exhilarated, as he waded deeper and deeper into the water, holding me in his arms.


At the white cliffs of Dover in the 1980s.  Daddy drove Mama and me fearlessly all over England’s narrow, winding roads, sometimes keeping pace with the locals a bit too much for my mother’s liking.  In the evenings, after the driving was done, he was always great pub company. He still is great company, wherever we are.