See all of the exclamation points? Every single one represents every male influence in my life I have valued over the years. Let’s start with Henry DeVries. He is the one on the left. Henry was a father figure given to me in my life from God. He is my wonderful step father. He passed away in 1999. It was the closest objective encounter to death I’ve ever experienced. I was by his death bed on his last day. In the midst of his dementia, he at one moment opened his eyes and called me by my name and really recognized me. He slipped back away and started calling the names of his late mother and father saying he needed to open the door to go into the light. In retrospect, I felt silly when I told him whatever you do, do not go to the light. Who was I to negate God? *blush* embarrassed. I remember and still miss the hours of talk we had, in his Dutch accent he would give me fatherly advise about life, money and sometimes dance around the room in his goofy ways to make me laugh. He made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for my Mom every morning and had coffee ready for her when she got up. He loved his dog, Weirdo, a little peanut Pappillon who I must admit felt very safe with his retired Dutch police officer owner. One time a pit bull tried to devour Weirdo and he punched the pit so hard it ran off with his tail between his legs! LOL!! He loved my kids so much, played peek a boo with Tara and Jordan and bought groceries for me because he knew how hard it was for me as a single parent taking care of two kids. He was protective and very generous. He loaned me money to buy a car in cash but added a little interest on top of it to teach me to value credit. He was an amazing man, someone I looked up to and still do to this day. I love you Papa Henry and miss you terribly!
Next on the list is Earl Oscar Walker. He is the one on the right. He was my father-in-law, grandfather to my daughter, Tara. He was a fantastic man, full of wisdom and love for all things alive. He was the most organic person I know, taking every vitamin in the alphabet and a diet heavy on beans, fruit and veggies. He lived in
Piedmont, the nicer part of and the man walked
everywhere. Didn’t own a car, always
took mass trans. Everytime he sees me he
flashes that awesome smile and says, “Hey Dovie!” That’s his nickname for
me. I get mail from him almost everyday
with an article he clipped from a newspaper that almost always gave me
something to mull about. In times of
need, which is often, he was always there to lend a helping hand, without so
much as an unkind word as to why we struggled, you will never hear a cross word
from him. Everything that comes out of
his mouth is positive. We talked for
hours and hours on end, no matter what part of the Oakland he was at as an Amtrak train
employee. My daughter Tara was the love
of his life. She was his gift from
God. He loved my little girl so much
that I often sacrificed my time with her so that he could spend as much time
with her and she with him. Somehow I
felt it necessary, and I wasn’t mistaken.
She turned out to be an awesome human being and took on most of her
grandfather’s disposition. U.S.
Money doesn’t make us happy. I was not fortunate enough to have a good relationship with my biological father for reasons he is aware, but God blessed me with male influences in my life who were from strong moral stock, whose influences in turn compelled me to nail my feet firmly to the ground. Sadly though, my two earthly dads both passed away within 6 months of each other. I was deeply devastated and teeter-tottered through life after that. It’s as if God took them away to say, yes, it is my turn now. Knowing how kind those fathers were to you, I am all you have now to do the same. And He did. As he guides me through life today, it makes me appreciate my two other fathers all the more.
I hope you have special fathers too. Please share your story. I would love to read about them.