Glad for great dads

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By Vicki Brown

I feel rather sorry for dads. While most moms instinctively know what to do when a baby comes, dads are usually clueless. They adapt as time progresses and learn how to roll with the punches, diapers, and disasters.

My poor dad was the father to three daughters and two female dogs. He was totally outnumbered and out-voted every time.

But he trudged on, providing for us and getting us out of trouble.

Several events stand out in my mind regarding just how much my dad suffered when I was a kid.

First, it was the church thing.

Since dad was a missionary, he did the preaching on Sunday mornings at the little mission, and mom played the piano. This poses a huge problem when one of your kids is sick.

I distinctly remember mom being home with my little sister on one frosty Sunday morning in Buffalo. Both of them had the flu. Since I appeared to be okay, dad took me to church.

In the middle of the sermon, it hit me…I had to throw up.

I jumped up and ran out of the room, just making it to the bathroom. Seconds later, there was dad. He had left the pulpit, chased after me to check on me, and then went back and resumed his preaching right where he left off. He didn’t miss a beat.

Next came the paper route.

When I was 12, I decided that I would take over the paper route from the boy across the street who was moving away.

I learned the route, how to collect money, and then I was on my way to fame and fortune….or torture for my dad.

I had a gift, albeit an unwanted gift, of throwing my newspapers where they weren’t supposed to go. I remember walking home, crying to my dad, that a newspaper ended up on a lady’s roof. I had no extras.

With a sigh, my dad got a ladder, put me in the car, drove me to the lady’s house and together, using a broom, we retrieved the wayward newspaper.

It wasn’t too long after that episode that I threw the paper towards a porch…maybe just a little too hard, and shattered a glass storm door. My dad went with me to the man’s house to confess and offer to pay for the door. Thankfully, the man was honest and said that the glass in the door had been cracked anyway, and he was getting a new one. No fault.

Dad also drove the car and helped me deliver newspapers on rainy days and through blizzards. He did all of this so I could make money, and buy a ridiculous pair of high heeled go-go boots that killed my feet. But I have never been so proud of anything in my life as I was of those boots.

As I grew older, dad was the “go-to” guy with car issues.

I called him from a store one day and said my windshield wipers had stopped working. He drove up to the store, took one look at me and burst out laughing. I had driven my sisters to school in a downpour with my head out of the window since the wipers didn’t work. I looked like a drowned rat. Still laughing, he raised the hood, thumped a fuse, and the wipers started. Chuckling, he got back in his car and drove off.

Okay, maybe that wasn’t a great example, but he was also the “go to” guy when we needed feminine things from the store. Since the bagboys were cute and went to our schools, there was no way my sisters and I were going in there and purchasing any “supplies” and being embarrassed in front of the guys! Dad always came through for us…but he was blushing.

But best of all, when I turned 16, Dad realized I was growing up. He grew concerned that he hadn’t spent a lot of quality time with me, and I would soon be out of the house. So to make up for it, he began showing up at my school at lunch time every now and then, signing me out, and taking me to have a sandwich…just the two of us. Now, I admit, there was nothing worse at that time than looking up in the middle of typing class and seeing your dad waving at you through the glass window with your friends and the teacher all noticing and grinning. I was mortified. But now, I treasure the memory.

Maybe you didn’t have a great dad, or even a dad at all, and if so, I am sorry. They are one of God’s greatest and most fun gifts. For those of you who did, tell him thanks for all the times he got a ladder, worked on the car, bought stuff you needed, or swept the rice off the church porch after your wedding.

Tell him before it’s too late and you can’t.

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