FATHER'S DAY ESSAY THIRD PLACE: My dad, my hero

“Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle but there was always love in Daddy’s hands,” is a song that is very near and dear to my heart.
My daddy was and still is a very special man to me that I looked up to. He went beyond his call of duty being a father to me, because he was more than a daddy, he was my friend, mentor; he gave me comfort, strength and love day to day.
I remember the very first time my boyfriend, now husband, came to my house. Chris and I were standing in the yard talking and my daddy walked up. My daddy looked at Chris and said, “Son, I don’t know who you think you are but the best thing you can do is get back in your car and get
out of here and don’t ever come back. Do you have any questions?” Chris and his friend started for the car. I said,
“He is just kidding.” Daddy said, “Naw, I’m not.” Then after a few moments he said, “You can stay, but don’t stay forever.”
The day of my wedding day as we were walking to the front of the church, he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Baby, we don’t have to do this. You and I can leave and I won’t be mad at all. I know we have spent a lot of money on this wedding but I don’t care to throw it all away if you don’t want to go through with this.”
I said, “Daddy, I want to get married. I want this to happen.”
He looked at me and said, “Well, let’s not make him wait any longer, but if he ever does anything wrong, your mom and I will gladly welcome you home.”
When our preacher asked, “Who gives this woman to marry this man?” my dad was supposed to say, “her mother and I,” but his words were, “Her mother does.”
I thought he wasn’t going to say the rest. I looked around. I looked at my mom. We had practiced this. We had practiced the words the night before. I knew he hadn’t forgotten what he was supposed to say. Then with what seemed like forever, he looked at me and smiled and said, “Well, I guess I do too.” Laughter broke out in the church and the wedding went on.
He was a big joker, but he was a serious man too. He took his work, his church and his family serious. He was devoted to whatever he was doing and he wanted things done perfectly. He always finished what he started. He loved life and he lived life to the fullest.
He was and will always be a special daddy to my brother and me. He wanted us to achieve so much in life and he and my mom taught us to work hard all the time and to give our all in all that we do. We both have learned that lesson from him.
I never dreamed though anything would ever happen to my daddy. I thought he would live forever although I do know that one day the Lord, if we have chosen him as our savior, will call us all home but I didn’t think the Lord would call him home at such an early age.
September 1, 2007, was an ordinary day. My mom, my little girl and I left for Tupelo around lunch. My daddy said, “Why don’t ya’ll leave Mollie Grace with me. We’ll have a lot of fun.”
I said, “She has got to have some new shoes.”
He kissed Mollie Grace goodbye and said, “Granddad loves you and I will see you later.”
We left, told Daddy goodbye, told him we loved him and would see him later too. Little did I know I would never see him alive again. He had a four-wheeler accident that afternoon that claimed his life. This was the hardest day of my life and I relive it over and over each day. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him.
I know where my daddy is and I am blessed to know that one day I will be able to see him again, but everyday is a struggle. It is a struggle because there are times that I want to call and tell him something but I can’t, but I can stop, look up toward heaven and tell him all I need to tell him. He sees what goes on in my life. He is greatly missed by our family.
When daddy died, he left behind a wife of 38 years, a son, daughter, daughter-in-law, son-in-law and two special grandchildren who worshiped their “Granddad” and he worshiped them too. Anything they wanted, they GOT. The Lord took another angel home when my daddy died, but in return almost two years to the date of his death, he blessed our family with twins. Never question the Lord and his work. He may take away but he will bless you richly.

Amanda Sheffield