Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and father figures out there. I hope you all have a wonderful day.
This story is about a wonderful memory I have of my daddy.
My mama and daddy at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration.
I am not sure how old they were here but I know they were very young.
My daddy was very strict with me and my brothers and sisters. There was seven of us. He worked hard to provide for all of us. It was sometimes hard to please him he had really high standards for all of his kids. I am glad now that he did because it has made me the person I am.
I never had any doubt that he loved me but he sometimes had a hard time putting it into words. It was easier for him to show us.
I was in the first grade. I didn’t go to Kindergarten. The small school that I attended didn’t even offer Kindergarten. So I went directly into first grade. My sisters were seniors in high school when I started first grade and I thought they were quite possibly the coolest people on earth. They would stack their school books up and place them on the table and have their purses nearby. Sometimes I would get their books and sling one of their purses over my shoulder and pretend I was in high school too.
Soooo when the time came to buy my school supplies my mama steered me to these ugly red and black plaid book satchels. I shook my head and said no way will I carry one of those. I am carrying my books in my arms with my purse on my shoulder just like Sandy and Pat do. After all I was in first grade I was no longer a baby. I didn’t need something to put my books in!!!
Somewhat grudgingly my mama finally gave in. We got my paper and pencils and erasers and a notebook. I was so excited. That night I gathered everything together and got my favorite purse. I did notice that it was a little hard to get all of those things put together and keep them from slipping out of my arms, and my purse kept slipping off of my shoulder, but that didn’t stop me. I was determined.
The next morning I was up bright and early ready to get on the school bus. My mama waved bye to me. I marched out the door with my purse slung over my shoulder and my notebook and pencils clasped proudly in my arms. Man I felt so grown up, I was just like my sisters.
I climbed the steps onto the bus and noticed my pencil bag had slipped out of my notebook. A kid behind me stepped on it!!! My beautiful new pencil bag!!! I bent down and grabbed it up and put it back with my notebook.
When I took my seat on the bus I noticed a girl about my age sitting across the isle from me. Beside her on the seat was one of those book satchels like my mama and I had seen at the store. When the bus got to school she very neatly grabbed the handle and marched off of the bus. I gathered my notebook and made sure my pencil bag was securely inside. I slung the purse over my shoulder and walked off the bus.
I couldn’t help but notice that many of the boys and girls going into my class had a book satchel. Heck almost all of them did. Most of them even had those red and black checked ones that my mama had wanted me to get.
When I got to my classroom all of the kids had book satchels. The teacher told them to get their notebooks out. Everyone had a place in the back for their satchel. I felt tears in my eyes. I suddenly, more than anything in the world, wished I had a book satchel too. I wanted one so bad.
That night after dinner I kept whining to my mama about a book satchel. She said well you will just have to wait until we go to the store again, I tried to get you one and you didn’t want it.
My daddy worked at a plant that manufactured stoves. He worked so hard every day. I don’t remember him ever taking a vacation and if he called in sick the world would stop because that never happened. Every night he went to bed really really early. My mama always shushed us so we wouldn’t wake him up.
I was desperate to find me something that resembled a book satchel. I thought I might use one of my sisters’ big purses. I was in the closet pulling out purses and trying to find something when my daddy woke up and said “what is wrong? what is she doing?” My mama told him I was looking for a book satchel or something that would suffice. He yelled in there and said ‘Lisa go to bed you can’t worry about it tonight.” So I did.
The next day I returned to first grade lugging my notebook and pencils. I left the big purse at home. When I got off of the school bus that afternoon I noticed that daddy’s car was in the driveway. That was odd because he never got home early. He was standing on the porch and there was a big brown bag beside him. He had the biggest smile on his face. He said “here open this”. I looked into the bag and there was the most beautiful red and black checked book satchel that you have ever seen. I grabbed it and immediately started putting my notebook and pencils inside. I was so happy that night I think I slept with it.
I didn’t realize at the time just what it meant for my daddy to do that. Times were different then. It was almost 50 years ago. There were no Walmarts to go to at the last minute. He rarely went into a store without my mama. For him to leave work and immediately drive to the store and pick me out this book satchel was something very special. My mama knew it because I don’t think he had ever done anything like that before. He usually didn’t believe in such nonsense. I was the sixth of his seven children and I think maybe by the time I came along he had mellowed a lot.
He has always been the person I hold my highest standards to. He never met a stranger, he would stop on the side of the road to help if someone had car trouble. After he retired he grew a garden probably an acre wide and gave most of the vegetables away to people who lived in town and didn’t have a garden. He was tough but he was such a wonderful man. It took me some years to appreciate just how wonderful and smart he was.
I hope you enjoyed this story about my daddy. It is one I will never forget.
Love your day your way!!!