My Daddy has finally retired. After years of hard work, he has earned this new milestone in his life. Daddy has experienced so many things in his lifetime. He worked at a steel mill when I was a little girl and worked there until I was in Junior High when he became a pastor.
All throughout my High School years my Daddy was a pastor somewhere. Some of my fondest memories during that time are of our family and church. One church in particular really stands out for me. Every Wednesday and Sunday night the church members would gather and have a wonderful time of fellowship either by playing volleyball or just sitting down and "chewin' the fat". Even our dog couldn't be kept from the church!
A few of my fondest memories of my Daddy's days as a preacher are stories that I'll tell Violet when she's older. Daddy wasn't one of those pastors who felt the need to yell while preaching. He had a gentle manner at the pulpit and I always loved the stories he would weave in his sermons. I remember one time though when Daddy got particularly excited. He actually raised his voice, which was an anomaly in itself, but what I'll NEVER forget is Daddy slammed his hand on the pulpit during that sermon. It just so happens that at the exact same time Daddy did that lightning struck an electrical line outside. The boom of thunder that followed was incredible! I can't explain this next part but it's absolutely true. There was a blue arch of static (or something) that went from one side of the church to the other and it went right over my Daddy's head! I still laugh when I think of the expressions some of our church members had that night. One of our deacons hit the floor and peeked over the pew, eyes wider than golf balls! Needless to say, God has a perfect sense of timing.
My Daddy has also worked as a store manager at grocery stores and then finally with the Follett Bookstores. Daddy has worked for Follett for ten years. In his employment with the company Daddy was Follett's Values Corporate Award winner for the Value of Integrity during one of the company's annual meetings, a huge honor. Daddy even had the privilege of introducing the company's Vice President of Sales & Operations, Steve Pribyl, during the last annual meeting this past summer in Orlando, Florida.
In appreciat-ion of the past ten years my Daddy worked for Follett, the company and his co-workers honored him by hosting a retirement party. They held a reception on campus during the day and then he was treated to dinner at a local steak house that evening. Daddy is a HUGE Astro's fan and his retirement gift was an authentic Houston Astro's jersey. He is already planning on coming down to Houston so he can wear his jersey at an actual game. He and my Mom have a free place to stay whenever they come down. They are always welcome here.
I am very proud of my Daddy. I guess you could call me a "Daddy's Girl", a title that I wear proudly on my heart. I couldn't have asked for a better Daddy. He has always supported me in my decisions and guided me on the ones I had trouble making. I didn't always appreciate him like I do now and I regret that. Like all typical teenagers, I sometimes thought my parents were old time and didn't know what they were talking about. When I was in my twenties, I realized how wrong I was. They knew more about life than I realized and now I try to glean knowledge from them, making up for lost time.
When Gregg and I became engaged, my biggest wish for my wedding was not only for my Daddy to give me away but to also officiate the wedding. We had one of our college professors, Dr. Kemp, stand at the altar and do the "who gives this bride?" portion of the ceremony and then a blessing on our marriage. Daddy took over the ceremony after that. Mine and Gregg's wedding was perfect, and very much a reflection of who we are, thanks to Daddy's touches on the ceremony. And the ending of the service received pleasant laughter as Daddy said, "Gregg, you may kiss my daughter now."
Retirement is a new chapter in my Daddy’s life, one he has earned with hard work and determination. Daddy deserves this. I just wonder if he’ll be able to stay retired. My parents aren't the type to usually sit around for very long. The desire to be doing something, anything, is strong. I imagine that Daddy will develop a hobby very soon, something that he’ll enjoy and that will keep him busy during the day. Something besides crossword puzzles.
Happy Retirement Daddy! I love you and am so proud of you!