June 18, 2011
Best Supporting Role
That got me to thinking more about my dad. I have no doubt that he was a strong leader in our home, even when we were not the most faithful of followers. However, many of my best memories involve him in a supporting role.
My dad was a wiz at math. He could calculate things faster in his head than I could on my brand new Texas Instruments calculator. He apparently passed that ability on to my elder siblings, with none left for Carol and I. So when I moved into advanced math (for me, that was Algebra 2, Geometry, and something nefarious devised by ASU called Business Algebra), I was dogpaddling in deep water. Daddy walked in on one of my homework sessions and immediately deduced that I was frustrated, and even panicked, by my inability to get through it. (I think my tears were the giveaway). Recognizing that he could not help me wade through the mysteries of tangents and cotangents, he offered what he could. He first told me that he was so sorry that he couldn't help me, then he disappeared for a few minutes. He returned with three of my favorite things: Coca Cola, chocolate, and a hug. And I got through it.
Several years later, my mother had been helping me with wedding planning. We had visited a local rental shop to check out the candelabras and dripless candles, and I was disappointed to learn that the fancy, scrolled candelabras were almost double the price of the standard candelabras. I opted for the less expensive version and moved on. A day or two later, Daddy called me at work and asked me if I'd rather have the scrolled candelabras, because he'd go change the order if I did, no matter what the cost. That really touched me, and I'm sure I was tearful when I told him not to worry about it. Now that I'm a parent, I sometimes wish that I had accepted the gift he lovingly offered that day.
I don't know if he heard me tell him thanks for the life he lived that last time I talked with him. But I'm confident that he's living out the ultimate reward with his Father now.