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Remember Time with Dad

 Father’s Day brings memories. As his only daughter, Dad always let me know that I was his best and most-loved daughter. He told me and hugged me and kissed my cheeks and rubbed my back and spent time with me. The quiet times we shared are some of my happiest memories with him.

When I was growing up, there was a big wooden rocking chair with a red padded seat and back in our living room. It sat next to a window and across the room from the front picture window. A coveted seat. Dad often sat there to read the daily newspaper or study his Sunday school lesson or read a book.

Many times I sat in Dad’s lap while he sat in that red rocker and he often read aloud to me. I really liked when he read the Sunday comics and he’d share some newspaper articles.   And we’d take turns reading aloud whatever book I was reading at the time, usually a biography or fiction book from the school library. After we read, Dad asked questions. What was that chapter about? What do you like about this book? Now, what do you think will happen? Looking back, I realize he was teaching, which was his profession for many years, but as a child, I liked the comfort and security I felt sitting in Dad’s lap.

Another memory is sitting between Mom and Dad during Sunday church service.   We always sat in the same pew, about eight rows back on the right side. The sanctuary was small and most Sunday’s church attendance was about 100.

Mom put her hand on my thigh and if I wiggled too much her soft gentle caress became a firm squeeze. We didn’t have a church bulletin and I never had paper to draw or scribble on, but Dad knew how to keep me still and quiet. He handed me his blue ballpoint pen that was clipped in his shirt pocket and laid his hand, palm up, on my lap. I rarely wrote with a pen so I clicked the pen’s top several times.

Then I drew lines along every crease that crisscrossed Dad’s palm. And I drew pictures using those lines. Silly faces. Trees. Unusual shapes. Dad sat perfectly still and so did I, intent on my drawing, and sometimes he closed his eyes. Then Mom eased her arm across the pew behind me and nudged Dad’s shoulder. He jerked his head, opened his eyes, and he and Mom exchanged glances, and I kept drawing.

Dad taught me to ride a bike and drive a car. He encouraged me to climb trees and ride horses. He ate the practice biscuits I made for 4-H baking contests and he clapped loud when I bowed after playing my piano recital pieces. But I most remember the quiet times. Sitting in the red rocking chair. Drawing on his hand during church. Now, decades later, I still feel Dad’s love.

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