“Push me really high Daddy” I yelled. My blond curls bounced as Daddy grabbed my swing.
“Now, hang on tight” he said as he pushed me. I held on to the cool metal chains in my hands as my stomach flip flopped. “Wee!” this is fun Daddy!”
“Now pump like I showed you! And you’ll keep going… that a girl!”
I was a bird. I could fly high, high in the sky. My feet almost touched the clouds.
“Now cup your hands in the water like this…”
“Am I doing it right Daddy?”
“Yep, now kick your feet! That’s right…you have it.” Water splashed everywhere.
“Now I’m going to let go and you go on your own. Now dog paddle… that’s right. You’ve got it! Good girl, you’re swimming!”
“Daddy, don’t let go” I pedaled with all I had, except for those two front teeth I lost last week. My pig tails flailed in the wind as I glanced over my shoulder to see Daddy, but Daddy was way back there. I was riding without training wheels, all by myself!
Daddy’s shiny new truck jerked and lurched its way down the dusty Mountain roads of Alabama. With sweaty palms I gripped the wheel with one hand, while using the other for the gear shaft. Daddy’s hand lay gently over mine, guiding me through the gears.
“Now, push in the clutch, shift, and let her out s-l-o-w-l-y.”
“Like this Daddy?”
“Yep, that’s it…now give her some gas, a little more. That’s it. Now slowly let your foot off the clutch.”
“Like this Daddy?”
“Yep, you got it.”
The balmy Southern air, laced with honeysuckle settled all around as Daddy and I talked about boys.
“Always remember, there’s too much to be lost for a moment of pleasure.”
“Hi Tam, how are you doing?”
“Okay I guess. My thurgery went fine, except all the thitches pulled out in my braces on the way home. My mouth is thill a little numb though. Can you thell?”
Mom made the mistake of leaving me at home alone with that terrible boyfriend. Daddy called just as that boyfriend was forcing something I wasn’t comfortable with. Who knows how my life could have been altered had daddy not called me right then!
“Daddy, that boyfriend wants me to go out with him again. He says he’s changed. Do you think I should say yes?”
“Well, usually someone doesn’t change that quickly.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, it takes years.”
“Well, okay, thanks.”
Breaking my engagement was one of the toughest decisions of my teenage life.
“Dear God, we give our daughter back into your hands. We pray you’d protect her and send angels around her. And send her someone very special to sit with. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
As we neared the airport my heart beat out of my chest. I was about to begin my fourth singing tour. This one was different. I knew no one ahead of time. And this tour would take me not only across the country but the world.
As the airplane readied for take off, I listened to the music on my headset, the voices sang that “He’ll put angels all around you, to keep you from falling, to guide and protect you, till you’re on your way home.” As I opened my devotional for a comforting thought, the page before me reminded me that God would command his angels concerning me. A woman sat beside me. As we talked it was obvious she was a believer too. My parents’ prayers availed much.
I inhaled the crisp night air, mingled with the unmistakable smell of diesel exhaust from my tour bus. My tour finally made it to Michigan. I looked down out of the bus window as I grabbed my luggage, to see my parents, waiting for me in a sleek luxury sedan. Daddy had access to a lot of cars with his engineering job. I was his celebrity.
As the string quartet played the wedding march Daddy held out his arm to me. My white veil and dress flowed as he led me down the aisle. I was a princess, ready to meet my prince charming. Daddy whispered softly in my ear, “always be true.”
“I will Daddy. I will”.
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