For years I watched him type letters and make phone calls to members on both sides of the family ~ particularly those who lived far away and seldom called. Daddy was a connector. He kept the home fires burning and let everyone know how much he valued them in our lives. Many nights I would fall asleep listening to Daddy’s old typewriter pecking away, one letter at a time, for his was the old-fashioned, non-electric type. Daddy knew something that I had not yet learned as a child, and that is how valuable relationships are and how sad it was when some became drifters.

There was a sweet, gravitational pull inside Daddy’s heart that drew people to himself. He was unashamed that he needed people. I witness how rarely that need is easily expressed by others. Daddy would say, “Let’s check on this loved one, because it’s been a while since we’ve heard from them. They might need us for some reason or another.” Whether it was groceries, a prescription picked up at the store, or just a long, warm hug, Daddy knew people needed relationships that were sincere and heartfelt.

I was learning lessons early in life, as Daddy never met a stranger. Everyone had something interesting about them, so he went searching with questions. Sometimes I was even a bit embarrassed that he would stop and talk with people whom I might have found a bit disheveled or ‘down-on-their-luck,’ as he would say. He was genuine in his interest. Only a very few people soured in Daddy’s viewpoint…and they had to be consistently naughty for Daddy to feel that way. For the most part, he loved everyone.

Only Heaven has record of the number of people he fed who were without work, couldn’t pay bills, or needed a meal. It became ‘the usual thing’ for Daddy to stop the car and help out a stranger. Many are the fond memories of the Christmases that he and I spread white tissue papers on the floor so that we could wrap together bundles of fresh fruit for me to take to every child in my classroom. He was deeply touched as I cried myself to sleep at night over those who came to school in bare feet. He took time from work to meet with the principal of the school to see if we could buy one or more children a pair of shoes. Family pride was always the factor; they wouldn’t accept hand-outs. Thus, everyone, including the needy children, received a gift of fruit at Christmas.

These life lessons live on, and are being passed on by our family. Many of our grandchildren write us love notes, draw us pictures, write stories about our love together…just because. We hear of them passing on the blessings through unselfish acts of kindness to others…and our hearts swell with joy. Daddy wasn’t the only one in our family who spread the love of Jesus to so many…but today, he’s on heavy on my mind. I’m so grateful Daddy wasn’t a drifter.

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.” Philippians 1:3

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