Sunday, June 16, 2013

Johnny Jasper Jones, Jr.

Today is Father's Day.  As a female, I'll only celebrate it as a daughter and a wife.  And that's okay with me. But let me share with you about my own daddy.

I think every little girl starts out believing that her daddy is the coolest, strongest, most handsome man who has ever walked the face of the earth.  He is placed on a pedestal.  Any other man in a girl's life has to measure up to her daddy.  He sets the stage for relationships throughout his daughter's life.

My daddy has been a good daddy.  I've always loved him, but since I've been an adult I've come to appreciate him more.

We joke that Daddy's and my relationship had a rocky start--I was born on the opening day of deer season.  Any decent Southerner knows that opening day doubles as a religious holiday.  You simply don't make plans for the early morning of the third Saturday in October.  It just isn't done.  Twenty-eight years ago, however, I had a different idea.  (Let's blame it on ignorance.  I didn't know any better.)  Somehow, though, Daddy managed to overlook my oversight, and loves me in spite of my poor timing.

I have so many good memories of my daddy.  There's not space to share them all here, but I'll hit the highlights:

I was an only child for five years.  I'm pretty sure I was the month six month old with a go-kart.  We have pictures of Daddy and me riding it before I could walk.  When I was a little girl we had hogs.  I remember Daddy taking me to the farrowing house to see a brand new litter.  He shared with me how special life is.

Before my sister was born I wouldn't sleep my bed.  I slept with Mama and Daddy.  Daddy used to tell me about Bo Cephus, who lived in a cabin in the woods.  I always enjoyed those stories, and I wish I could remember more about them.

Daddy used to take me to the pond after work.  He'd back the pick-up up to the water and we'd fish from the tailgate.  For years and years I thought you had to be quiet while fishing, or you'd scare the fish away.  Come to find out, Daddy just needed his uber-chatty daughter to be quiet.

For a long time, probably until I was six or seven, I thought Daddy's name was Johnny Jasper Jones, Jr.  I later learned that that is NOT his name, that it's the name of one of my mother's college classmates.  But when I would ask Daddy his middle name that's what he'd tell me.  For those of you who don't know my daddy, his name IS Johnny Jones.  That's what makes it believable to a small child.

My daddy has curly hair.  I do, too.  When I was a little girl Daddy would let me use him to play beauty parlor.  Every daddy ought to let his daughter put barrettes in his hair.  Those are memories that are priceless to me.

Not all of my good memories are pre-Jessica and John, though.

For my tenth birthday Daddy took me to town and bought me a pink Swiss Army knife.  For Christmas that year he gave me a BB gun.  Yep, Daddy taught me how to shoot a gun.  I'm the proud owner of riflery trophies.  Daddy took me to the public library on a Sunday afternoon to take the hunter safety course when I was in sixth grade.  He took me into the woods with him and sat me on a bucket.  I have never shot a deer, but you know what?  My daddy did take the time to teach me how to.  He took up time with me, even after Jessica and John were born.

Daddy helped teach me to drive.  He'd quiz me about things that drivers don't generally think about--things like, "Can you be pulled over for speeding, even if you're going the speed limit?"  Yes--you can be driving too fast for conditions.

Daddy provided me with my first job.  I started off sweeping and worked my way up to working the parts counter and doing book work.  I worked with my parents until I moved away to college.  Since I've been grown and married I've worked with Daddy a few times.  It's hard work, but at my core, I know there's just something exciting about being a part of a family business.

When I was 17 I had a date with the boy I would date my junior and senior years of high school.  Daddy looked over the bar at him, shook his finger, and said, "You take care of my daughter."  Apparently I am a prized possession.

When I was a freshman in college I was a basketball cheerleader at Brewton-Parker College.  My family came to see me cheer.  That's when I learned Daddy was a quasi-basketball fan.  Not everybody's daddy hollers, "You dummy!" at the referee!!

The only person I've ever heard my daddy threaten is my husband.  He wasn't my husband at the time--he was asking Daddy for permission to ask me to marry him.  Daddy essentially told Jon that he could run, but he couldn't hide if ever he hurt me.  To top it off, Daddy took Jon target shooting the day before our wedding.  I think the point was proved.  Daddy is a good shot.

The day Jon and I got married, just before the wedding started, before he gave his firstborn away, Daddy came in the room where I was.  He asked me if I needed anything, if I was okay.  Even though I was 24 years old, a bride-to-be, and fairly independent, I was still my daddy's little girl.

And since I've been married, Daddy has still been there for me.  He and my mother have traveled to be with Jon and me at the hospital twice.  Sadly, it was not because he was becoming a grandaddy, but because he wasn't.  I'm sure it's difficult to see your child in the physical and emotional pain I was in.  While Daddy and I have never talked about it, I appreciate him being there.  We were able to talk about lawn mowers and local news, anything to get my mind off what we were going through.

To top off all the cool stuff Daddy has done with and for me, I have to say it really means a lot to me that he has embraced my husband.  Not all fathers-in-law do that to the gorillas who drag their daughters away.  I'm pretty proud of the relationship Daddy and Jon have.

Despite our differences, and in some cases similarities, I must say that after everything we've been through, Daddy is still one of the coolest, strongest, most handsome men to have ever walked the face of the earth.  Mama says still waters run deep.  She hit the nail on the head with that about Daddy.

Yes, Jessica, John, and I are very fortunate.  We have an awesome daddy.  We've never been hungry, and have always had a place to live.  We have always had what we needed, and a lot of what we wanted.  We know that our daddy loves our mama, and that he loves us.  I am so thankful for the hero of a daddy my daddy has been.

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