It was the summer of 1965. I was a little girl about to embark on vacation with my family. I was excited at the prospect of seeing Washington D.C. for the first time.
Being the youngest of three, I was always the "baby" of the family. As my father and mother finished gathering up needed items and placing them in the Ford’s trunk, us kids got situated in the back seat. I wanted to sit by the window, as did my brother. After much ado, my sister willingly sat in the middle. She knew I would have pouted the entire trip, had she not, so she spared herself the grief.
After many bathroom stops and laments of "Are we there yet?"…we finally arrived in Washington D.C. It was a hot, suffocating, humid day—the kind that makes your clothing stick to every inch of your body. No one used air conditioning way back then, so it was quite miserable. However, snacks and singing made our "misery" fun.
We arrived at the hotel in one piece, albeit, cranky and hungry. After a gallon of pink lemonade to refresh us, then mad dashes to the bathroom, we finally settled in quite nicely.
We all decided we just wanted to relax by the pool after that long trip. My father loved swimming and bowling. Two things he taught me from a very young age. He was excellent at both and I was so proud of him. I wanted to be like him, and always shadowed him, in awe of his finesse and athletic prowess.
And so, while sitting by the pool that day—when I saw my father wave to me from the diving board, then do a back flip, landing perfectly in the huge kidney shaped pool, I wanted to dive as well.
“Sweetheart, I know I have taught you to dive, you are an excellent swimmer and accomplished diver…but this is a little higher. Are you sure?”
While on the diving board, I saw my father waving, “Come on sweetheart you can do it. I am here for you. Take your position like I taught you.”
“Okay, Daddy.” I got into position, but as I was about to dive, I lost my footing and fell off the board.
All I remember is panicking, sinking to the bottom of the pool. I suddenly couldn’t remember how to swim. I felt I was drowning…then, I felt my father’s arms around me. I kept jumping on his head underwater…but within seconds I was out of danger.
“Are you okay?” He asked kissing my forehead.
“You slipped this time but I know you can do it. Want to try again?”
I looked at my beloved father, “Yes.”
The second attempt was perfect.
My Dad was always my encourager. Countless more times than in the pool that day. He was my sheer delight and my “go to” for everything, always there for all of my crises in life.
I remember when I couldn't find my turtle, Rocky. I woke him up crying, “Daddy help me, I can't find Rocky. He’s alone somewhere and probably so scared.”
It was the wee hours of the morning, yet my amazingly loving father just smiled and grabbed his bathrobe. “Sweetheart we will find him…don’t worry.” We searched for two hours straight, and finally found him. The entire time my father reassuring me, not to worry, that we would find him. Daddy, my hero.
I also recall when my beagle, Bagels, got lost. I was sick to my stomach. I ran to my father, “Daddy, please we have to find him.” My dad had been on his way to an important case, and so my mother offered to take me…but I wanted my dad. Within seconds we were in the car. We searched for about an hour and finally found him, walking on the side of the highway! My father ran across the road and rescued Bagels for me.
At eight, I remember my first “grown-up” bicycle. It was sleek, beautiful, with hand brakes. I was sure I wouldn't be able to ride it, yet I loved it. My father waited patiently until I decided to try it. After a couple near miss attempts, and lots of loving support…I finally did it!
I could never list all my father’s encouraging moments, they were always there, until his untimely death. My dad was the perfect earthly example of my Heavenly Father’s love and encouragement.
"Thank you Daddy...thank you God."
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