My biggest cheerleaders

Published 10:27pm Friday, January 20, 2012

It was odd not traveling to Centre for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year, having done that for as long as I can remember. We did so as children to see our paternal grandparents who lived there, and continued this practice as adults when my mother and father left Birmingham to live in retirement in north Alabama.

Mother died in 1994. Dad died last March after suffering from Alzheimer’s.

It dawned on me this week that Sunday, the 22nd, would be dad’s 93rd birthday — the first birthday after his death.

So, it’s a new experience to think about my father in the past tense.

I thought about dad during Christmas while preparing a sermon on Joseph, the father of Jesus. Joseph exemplified the two God-ordained attributes of the father: protector and provider.

I only remember being afraid one time as a child, and it was because dad was working overtime at the steel mill. A drunken man thought our house was his and got upset that he was locked out. In retrospect he probably wasn’t a threat and we could’ve gently sent him on his way or called his family, but my mother, sister and I were terrified. Fortunately we lived next door to a retired Birmingham police officer. My mother sent me out the front door to get him since the old “party line” telephone was busy.

Dad always seemed to know what to do in unique situations.

And he was a provider in the first degree. He worked hard on his job. I remember his rant at times about the “new generation” of workers who didn’t work like his generation did.

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