You were my first love. And though I've fallen hard over the years for some other men , (Bert and The Storm) my heart has continued to grow, because I love you even more now than I did back then....
I love all the memories I have of you singing to us, especially "In the Shadow of His Wings." I love hearing you sing it still, to my children.
I love that you always made us recite the Books of The Bible on the way to church... Every. Sunday. Morning.
I love the way you always smell of fresh soap and Old Spice aftershave.
I love that you have always written sweet notes when you could tell I was stressed out....
I love that you always get my jokes, and laugh, even when no one else does.
I love that you grit your teeth and talk with them clinched when you see or hear of an accident or even a near accident with any of the children. And remind us, with your teeth still clinched, while pausing in between words, "Y'all have got... to be... careful... with those children." And that you used to do the very same thing when we were children, and gotten sunburned, or injured.
I love that you were always such a stickler for both sunscreen and seat belts. By doing that, you've saved our lives more than once, I'm sure of it.
I love that you taught me what to look for in a husband, by being exactly what I needed to look for.
I love that on my wedding day you were just like Steve Martin in Father of the Bride, and nearly left me, to go sit by Momma, when it was almost time to walk me down the aisle. It's one of my favorite memories of that day. You raised my vale, kissed me sweetly, and said, "I love you, Holly Berry." Then turned to join the wedding guests already seated. For a moment I thought you must be walking over to the sound booth, to tell them I was ready, then I realized you were taking a turn towards the aisle. So I tried to whisper, "Daddy." Then, when you didn't turn back, I had to get a little louder, though still a whisper, "DADDY!" Finally, in a hoarse attempt to keep the attention off the scene I was creating, I screamed (softly), "DAAAAADDDDYYY!" You turned around, quickly realizing you had forgotten your escort, shook your head, then came back over to me and said, "I would have remembered before I sat down!" We both laughed heartily and hugged tightly, one last time with me as your single daughter. I'm sure in your head you heard "Sunrise, Sunset" instead of "Trumpet Voluntary."
I love that you've only ever had eyes for our Momma, and made sure you told her that, in front of us, repeatedly. But, even if you had never told us, we would have known by the way you've always treated her.
I love that my boys always want to be with you. And beg to call Cookie, then ask for you as soon as she answers the phone.
"A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society." -- Billy Graham
I love that you have always contributed to our society by not only being a great Father to your biological children, but also to the many lives you have touched in the many places you have volunteered, and been a wonderful example of what a Father should be, for those who didn't have one.
I love that when you taught me how to ride my bike, you were there to scoop me up each time I fell off, hugged me for a moment, then forced me to get back on and try again, even though I didn't really want to... And I love that you've done that exact same thing in many other areas of my life, each time I fell.
I love that you always put your family's needs above your own, no matter what the circumstance. I'm sure you would have enjoyed a much newer car, but still drove that old as dirt Ford truck until it had over 300,000 miles on it, so that you could save up to put FIVE children through college... with no loans. I'm still amazed by that fact, and never had fully appreciated you for those sacrifices, until I had my own five to worry about and feed.
I love that you are not only a good Father, but a LEADER as well.
I love that you have always put GOD first, and made it your goal to teach us to do the same.
I love you, Daddy.
Happy Father's Day!
Love, Your Holly Berry
And, Bert... Happy Father's Day to you too. Since you're not a huge fan of touch-feely stuff, you can just re-read this post from last year: "Happy Fadda's Day!" I love you!