Dads Are Forever

None of our dads are perfect men. God only made one of those. And, yeah, there are some dead-beat ones out there not worth mentioning. But, by far, most of them are the most special men on earth to those of us who call them Daddy. I asked you to tell me about yours.

So, here goes. Raw and only slightly edited. Unapologetically long. These are the men we will remember forever.

Martha: My dad was a listener. I shared my ups and my downs with him. His gift was never judging, just listening and often that was just what I needed.

Betty: He was so much more than I can put on paper. He was an alcoholic, but that was a condition, not who he was. He was smart, loving, funny and caring. I never doubted he loved me. As a small child he read to me, cuddled with me, and held my hand while walking. As a young teen we would work on solving the Word Scramble in the newspaper together. As a newlywed, he would drop by and casually check to be sure I had food in the fridge. When he died, I discovered a scrap of paper in his billfold with John 14:27 written on it. I also carry that life affirming scripture with me to this day. He left us too soon. I loved him.

Joe: My dad worked in the foundry with your daddy. 40 years of that iron dust and smoking killed him at 69 years old. He died in January of 1978. If he had lived until May of that year, he and mama would have been married 50 years.

Cindy: My father was a reserved, simple man whose presence spoke volumes. He taught me that hard work paid off and about the value of a dollar. I remember he taught me that if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. Also, that if you can’t do anything right don’t do it at all. I miss you, Dad.

Buddy: Not a lot to say about my dad. He taught me to splash a little water on the tub wall so the shower curtain would stick to it and keep water off the floor. I have done that all my life.

Donna: What I love most about my daddy is that he adopted me, and my brother and he never, ever, ever treated the two of us as anything but his very own. He was not a perfect man, but he was the best dad ever.

Beverly: My dad said, “Life is for the living.” These words of wisdom have served me well over the years.

Sandra: Daddy was hard on us, but we knew he loved us. We didn’t see his love for mama in our everyday lives at home. He was very demanding, and we toed the line. But when we were cleaning out mama’s house, we found love notes from him to her that she kept over the years. He absolutely adored her.

Katie: Dad was special to me because we could always talk any time of day. Mainly about sports, but there were times it was more than just that. I am so glad that my dad got to approve of my husband, and that he knew that he would always take care of me. So glad he was able to meet our son, Daniel, and love on him his first year. I am so grateful that my dad and I had a great relationship.

Kathryn: One of the things I appreciate most about my dad is that before I became an adult he made sure I knew how to be independent by teaching me things such as basic car and home maintenance and repair. I loved working out in his shop with him during my teen years. He taught me that I can do anything I want in life and that has given me a lot of confidence with life’s ups and downs. He’s a bit of a MacGyver and can fix pretty much anything that is broken. He loves his family with everything he has. We all love our Papa Bob.

Kristen: My dad has never not been there for me. He is by far my strongest inner voice. I find myself reaching into my “Dad Advice Vault” all the time. If someone asks me for advice, I almost always tell them, “My dad used to tell me this. . .” I always had something from him to apply to every situation. He has completely shaped who I am as a functioning adult, and as a parent, and I am so proud and thankful that he did. He is absolutely my hero.

Beatrice: Whenever I was stressed out, my dad would always say to me, “Take a minute, sit down, and have a pickle.” Not sure why the pickle, but anytime he said that I always laughed.

Terri: Our Kylie Grace has wanted a dog almost her entire life. But being allergic to dogs, it was going to have to be a special kind of dog for her. Her Poppie has spent a long time looking for the perfect dog to fit our family and more importantly, to fit Kylie Grace. He found Roxy. She loves Roxy. She loves her Poppie.

Fredrick: My dad was a great athlete and had high hopes of me following in his footsteps. But I was more inclined toward the music arts. I remember asking him one time if he was disappointed. “Ah, Freddie. The only two things I have to show from those days are yellowed press clippings and bad knees. You go and be the best you can be at whatever you choose to do, and I’ll be just as proud of you as I am right now.” That memory is time-stamped on my brain.

Helen: My sister came home with her kids to visit one time. She kept threatening to spank one of her boys. It never went beyond empty threats. Daddy, a man of very few words, stopped reading his detective magazine, looked up and said, “You are just teaching them to lie.” Then, he just went back to reading. WOW!

Jeannette: Just before Daddy died, I went to visit him in the hospital on my birthday. When the nurse came into the room, he introduced me as his baby girl and then said, “Isn’t she beautiful?” My daddy did not usually say things like that. I have carried those words in my heart all these years later.

Glenn: I tried to recall some famous saying my dad had, but nothing comes to mind. He was pretty quiet and could be a bit stern. He rarely answered the phone. But I always remember him telling us that he loved us. He always gave us a hug or a kiss goodbye, even after I became a grown man. He was always willing to give advice but only after you asked for it. I really miss being able to ask for it.

Bill: I have realized that the memory of specifics about my dad are fading. But one memory I will never forget. We attended an air show at Gwinnett Airport. The war birds were flying that day. We stopped in front of the B17. Dad just stood and looked a long time before saying anything. He told me where he used to sit as a navigator during WWII. We stepped back from the props as the plane fired up. When I looked up, Dad was crying. Not much but he had to wipe his eyes. I think I put my arms around him, at least I hope I did. When he passed, I inherited a picture that he took through the bombsight. It was his 21st birthday on his first mission over Germany. When I was 21, I was having a good old time at Reinhardt College not risking my life for my country. RIP Dad.

Ed: I consider myself extremely blessed and fortunate to have my dad. He set a fantastic example of how to be a Christian man. I’ve never known him to use profanity. He carries a large amount of wisdom. Working alongside him on the farm holds some of my greatest memories. He served in WWII with the Merchant Marines. At 96, he resides in an assisted living home. He doesn’t need much assistance but says he enjoys someone else doing the cooking and cleaning. He is the greatest man I have ever known.

Aaron: I always felt welcomed by my dad. Even when I was a little boy, when I would walk into a room where he was, he would often greet me with, “Hey, big man!” even though I was just a kid and not a “big man” at all. My dad was the most selfless person I’ve known. My older brother broke his neck in a car accident and was in the hospital for weeks; but the hospital was 2-3 hours away. Even so, my dad, after work every day, would drive the 2-3 hours and bring my brother a milkshake. The last time I was with my father, he was trying to recover from cancer. I asked him, “Dad….do you think you’re dying?” To which he responded, “Well, I have mixed feelings about that……BUT…..if I am, I trust that everything I ever preached was true.” He passed away less than a week later. My dad once told me that HIS dad was the “best Welch” he ever knew. But, for me, my dad was the best Welch I’ve ever known or expect to know.

Me: I’m still trying to spit in the crack, Dad. Trying every day.

To the greatest men on earth.

Happy Father’s Day.