Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Tribute

Today’s photo is of my wife, Jill, and her dad, Johnny, taken on our front porch (we treat it like an outdoor living room). They are laughing because Jill had just caught her dad looking over at her cards.

"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers

This story is from Ginny:

“DeVere Lathers was my dad. He was a man of relatively few words; his were kind, sometimes witty, firm yet gentle. They were always memorable, words that communicated love and reminded me again and again how much he valued me.

As a child, I loved to sit close to him in church on Sunday mornings. His arm would be stretched out behind me on the back of the pew. If I got fidgety, he would gently tap my shoulder, look down at me, and nod once reminding me to be still. I would be still. I felt loved, valued, treasured.

While in college, I worked during the summers, but my dad did not want me to work during the school year. He worked 12 hour days, running his small grocery store, and I know paying tuition was a sacrifice, but he said, “Sis, you’ve got your whole life to work, you need to pay attention to your studies now”. I studied hard. I felt loved, valued, treasured.

With my wedding scheduled exactly one month after my college graduation, I was so touched to find a check from him in my parents’ graduation card. I told him he shouldn’t have done that, with the expense of the wedding, and I’ll never forget his words, ‘If I can’t do it for you, Sis, who can I do it for?’ I was overwhelmed. I felt loved, valued, treasured.

On my wedding day, I stood with my dad, my arm in his, waiting to begin our walk down the aisle. He leaned toward me, and said, ‘Sis, try to take long strides so I don’t lose my balance.’ He was nervous and so was I! We smiled. We were there for each other. I felt loved, valued, treasured.

I love to garden and one of my greatest joys was showing him my latest garden projects. Dad would look proud, smile, and say, ‘my land, Sis, I don’t know how you do it,’ I told him I loved to play in the dirt. I felt loved, valued, treasured.

A couple of years ago cancer appeared and surgery followed. As he lay in his hospital bed, in pain and groggy from anesthesia, Dad opened his eyes, smiled faintly and said to me, ‘I love you more than you know.’ My heart ached. I felt loved, valued, treasured.

We said our final good-bye six weeks later. I will always feel loved, valued, treasured.”

Isn’t that what all dads should leave their daughters with, the feeling of being loved that goes beyond his physical presence? I hope I accomplish that.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!


Dick Wirsching said...

absolutly beautiful

Linda Wszolek said...

I am Ginny's younger sister Linda. 10 years seperate us in age. We have had a golden life filled with security and love. Our parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on July 9th of 2005. Dad passed away just a little over a month after the celebration. Dad left us a legacy of security, love, strength and strong family values. Thank you for the chance to honor our dad.

Claudia said...

I'm Ginny's brother Jim. We were privileged to have such a wonderful dad. Growing up I enjoyed being his "right hand man" as he often called me. He worked so hard and loved us so much. We always felt special. Our hearts still ache from losing him. I am thankful for the kind of father he was and the things he gave us that will last a lifetime.

Jim Lathers