|Hands Clasped, Debbie and her Daddy|
Papa, as I always call him, was a simple man. He didn’t require a lot to be happy. When my sister and I were wee ones, Papa’s sport was hunting. One day he came home with his prizes, a squirrel or two, maybe a bird as well. When my sister and I cried over the poor little animals,he put away his hunting rifle and never went hunting again. He was willing to sacrifice a sport he truly loved for the sake of the hearts of his two girls.
Fishing became his next joy. Mama, Sissy and I often went fishing with Papa. He was always patient with us, showing us how to bait our hooks, taking time to show us how to cast our lines. He even spent time teaching us the songs he sang to the fish, urging them to grab hold of the tasty morsel on the end of the hook. I can still hear him, “Dance with me, Henry. Waltz with me, baby. Come on Henry, talk to me.”
Even with these hobbies, Papa still had his flowers. He had been a sickly child, the smaller of twin boys. Because of this, he was a couple of years behind his brother, William, in school. Papa stayed home with his mother who taught him to keep house, to cook, and to tend to the vegetable and flower gardens . Keeping house may not have been a passion, but he took to cooking and gardening. He became a Mess Sergeant in the Army during WWII.
Once Papa was older, he didn’t fish so much. Most of his fishing buddies, including his brother, my Uncle Shep, were long gone. But he still had his flowers. His two favorites were day lilies and amaryllis. He tended his garden up to the time he had to go into a rehab/nursing home facility. While there, they gave him a little plot of land where he planted his beloved flowers, sharing their beauty with his fellow housemates.
Raising Girls and Flowers
The lessons of caring for these flowers are some my sister and I treasure. Day lilies aren’t persnickety, but you do have to divide them every couple of years if you want the biggest, best blooms possible. Papa patiently taught us how to pull the tangled mass of the tubers, releasing one plant from another. He had us to help him pull the weeds so that the blossoms could show off their true beauty. He showed us how to go digging up dirt, preparing a hole for planting, mounding the dirt in the middle and spreading the tuber fingers across the mound, getting the plant just right for proper growth. Feeding them the correct plant food was essential to growth and beautiful blooms. (Luke 12:22-31)
|Papilio, One of Papa's Amaryllis|
Every person Papa met was treated with the same love, care, and attention he gave to his garden. By his example with his flowers as with people, my sister and I learned the lessons of not only our earthly father, but of our Heavenly Father. We need to weed or get rid of those parts of ourselves that will keep us from being the beautiful reflections of Christ that we were created to be. We have to feed our souls on God’s Word. We have to be planted securely in that Word and mature in it, so that we can stand in that Word, sowing God’s seeds near and far.
Our Legacy of Love
Papa loved his fellow man as he loved his flowers, unconditionally and with great care. He left each person he met with these words, “God loves you, and so do I.” As I walk out onto my porch to water the day lilies once tended so lovingly by my Papa, I can only be thankful for the lasting legacy he left to Sissy and me. We are so blessed to have been able to call him our Daddy.
Now it's your turn. Share what legacies were left to you or what you want to leave behind. Leave your comments in the section below.