By Joe Rector

Yesterday was Father’s Day. I spent some time with son Dallas and talked on the phone with daughter Lacey and Josh Fritts, a former student whom my family claimed as one of our own when he was a junior in high school, thirty years ago. Most of the day, Amy and I enjoyed being together at home. I never take this special day for granted.

When I was a boy, my dad didn’t have much time for Father’s Day. His shift work at the mill sometimes caused him to be absent on the Sunday when he was to be celebrated. We attended church when he was home, and I remember the one hymn that we always sang was “This Is My Father’s World.” We presented Daddy with things we’d made at Sunday School, and Mother always gave him some small gift. That seemed to be fine with the man because he never wanted any special treatment or gifts.

The last Father’s Day with my dad was in 1965. He was in the last stages of lung cancer, and it’s possible that he spent the day in the hospital. He passed the last day of August that same year. Jim and I were 13.

For years, the day honoring dads was gloomy at our house. We always remembered Daddy and agonized over his absences. On some days, I felt sorry for myself and whined about not having a dad like most of my friends. My attitude wasn’t admirable, but it was honest.

I adopted a dad when I married Amy. Her stepdad, Vaden Netherton, and I became good friends, and I always enjoyed spending time with him. He loved our two children and spoiled them rotten. Vaden was also one of the best persons whom I had ever met. I only heard him speak ill of another individual one time. I enjoyed spending those special days with him and being able to give him presents that for so long I hadn’t been able to give to a father figure. The same kind of cancer that took Daddy stole him from us, and I grieved as much when he died as I did when Daddy died.

One of my biggest blessings in life has been being a dad. I can recall most every moment of the days Lacey and Dallas were born, and the memories of my first looks at both of them still make me smile. My two children have always made my life fuller, and they’ve been quick to keep me in line when I’ve roared too loudly or fussed too much. Their mother’s guidance led them to being the kind of individuals whom others respect. I have always have been proud of “three” children, including Josh, and brag about them to anyone who will listen.

Father’s Day is special for us men. Sure, we always appreciate the attention and gifts and meals that come with it. However, we know that it is we who should hold celebrations for the children in our lives and for the women who have brought them to us. Thank you for making my life better than it ever could have been without you, Lacey, Dallas, Josh, and … Amy. I love you all.