I didn’t care if it took the entire day. I was going to pore over every single journal. It was an emergency! My wife made sure of that. Why all the pressure?
Thank goodness Mom made me write my thoughts down every night as soon as I could hold a pencil. “Even if it is just one sentence, Richard, write something down about what you did or learned today, ok?” Mom would smile and hand me some kind of themed notebook and pencil to help pique my interest.
There was the year with the Scooby-Doo spiral and matching crayon set:
May 7th, 1974
“Daddy tot me how to rid my bike off traneng weels. He told me to keep my eye on the sidewalk and sit up strat. I almos rid it 2 tims.
July 25th, 1974
“I jumpd to daddy off the sid of the pool. I crid wen he let me go undr watr. I held my breth hard. He sad I almos swim.
“If I could just be half the man…”
And how could I forget the Superman notebook with the pencil that said, “# 1 Superhero” on it when I was eight:
Jan. 3rd, 1977
We all shared our New Year’s resolutions today. Dad’s was to read his Bible and pray more with me and Mom. I wadded up the paper in my pocket and said that mine was to read my Bible and pray more just like Dad. Getting better at beating my cousin on Atari didn’t sound good after his.
“If I could just learn to be half the man he was, then….”
“Oh, my Top Secret Spy journal!!!” I grinned sheepishly while opening the bulky, black binding. “There’s some deep, dark secrets in this one”:
May 29th, 1981
Well, I really screwed up this time! Mom found the super secret stash of not so super magazines that Ted and I hid under my mattress. Dad is going to skin my bottom when he gets home. Ted brought them over….I only peeked at them a few times.
May 30th, 1981
I’m not sure why Dad didn’t punish me. He wants to take me away for a 'special weekend, just us two.’ He said he had stuff to tell me about God’s unique plan for my life—all of it—body, mind and soul. The verse he read to me gave me a lot to think about.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30. This should be interesting.
Dad went from my hero to my friend that weekend, though he always found a way to remain in authority even through my teenage years.
“If I could just learn to be half the man he was, then maybe I could…”
My fingers marveled over the weathered, brown leather journal Dad had bought me for graduation. 'Jay Richard Morgan' was inscribed right above the Mark 12:30 passage he had used to minister to me so many times. It was my treasure.
November 12th, 1988
I got a letter from Dad and Mom today. Each one wrote a special note to me. Mom reminded me to eat healthy and study hard. Dad told me to try to save some of the money that I was making at my job in the mall. He wrote this on a separate sheet of paper:
“Son, above all, keep your heart pure. Remember that God will guide you through college and through all of life if you remember what we have taught you and you continue to watch the life of other devoted Christians. And someday you will be a wonderful husband and father if you take the time to learn His ways.”
Stinging tears were flooding my eyes, and the words became blurry.
“I really miss you, Dad. You were such a great example for me.”
My wife squeezed my shoulder tenderly. “You ok, sweetheart?”
“Yes,” I muttered as I put my memories back on my shelf. “I was just getting ready to come and tell you.”
“Tell me what, Sweetie?”
I looked her straight in the eye and blurted out like a Superhero. “If I can just learn to be half the man my father was, then…In answer to your question this morning, yes—I think I might be ready to become a daddy.”
She looked relieved as she led my hands to her tummy, “Well, thank goodness! You’ve got about eight more months to learn.”
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