I learned a lot from my father growing up. He taught me to always do the right thing, be respectful of others, and to forgive. I’m still working on those things, especially the last one. Helping Travis coach Colton’s baseball teams always brings back a lot of memories. Its ironic that we play our games on the exact same fields that we played on growing up. There were several years that Deddy coached Travis’ Tee Ball team and my Little League team. He was really a dedicated Father to take on that much responsibility. But we did have some great times. Now Travis and I are going through the same experience and we are really enjoy doing it. Travis is good at details and organizing our efforts. He teaches them if they work hard, they will get better………I make them believe it.
Deddy did not just tell us how he wanted us to live, he led by example. He was absolutely committed to doing the right thing. He honored his mother and father, respected Mama, encouraged Travis and me in every way and he loved us all. He loved his 3 brothers unconditionally and I think they would all agree that if any of them needed someone to talk to about anything, Deddy was the one brother that they all knew would give them good advice without judgment. He would also kick their asses if he thought it was deserved and necessary. He was always quick to resolve family issues. He felt like that in a lot of ways, people were as strong as their family. So, he liked everyone to get along and keep peace.
Respect was also important to Deddy. He offered it to everyone that deserved it and he commanded it from others. He used to often hire people on “prison release.” I worked with many of those guys through the years during the summer. We never had a problem at all. Deddy treated them the same way he treated everyone else. There were a number of times when some of the gentleman would be released and come to visit Deddy to thank him for the opportunity and for treating them with respect. I always thought it showed a lot of integrity by my Father to take a chance with workers that had been deemed a criminal by the rest of the world.
Forgiveness was the attribute of my father that I simply have a hard time understanding. I saw many people lie to him over and over again, interrupt his weekend to borrow $20, let him down time and again, and Deddy would give them another chance. And another. And another. And……you get the idea. He just always said that people make mistakes and it takes some people a lot more to learn their lesson than others. It drove me crazy but always made me admire him for his compassion towards people even when they had done him wrong.
When he found out he had cancer, our family was devastated. He basically called a meeting at Mema and Papa Brafford’s house with them and his brothers. Everyone was overwhelmed with concern but Deddy was the voice of reason and assured them that he would do everything he could to overcome the cancer and regardless, everything would be alright. He was the one with cancer and also the one that gave the encouragement.
Of all the people whose lives were affected by the passing of my father, my life was probably affected the most. It changed my career path, I lost my advisor for everything, and I took on an incredible amount of responsibility. To this day, there are things that I am dealing with that were left when Deddy passed away. But the truth is, I don’t regret it. I had such a wonderful father that the responsibility that I inherited is a small price to pay for the example he set for me and Travis. I miss him every day for his advice, support and encouragement. I miss him for his great sense of humor. I often regret that he is not at our Little League games so he can tell me and Travis what we did wrong when the games are over. But as I consider that this will be the 19th Father’s Day we will spend without him, I am glad that he gave us life lessons that will last forever. I think for my family and friends, I have evolved into the voice of reason for a lot of things. I am certain that is something that Deddy would be proud of.
I wish all of you a very Happy Father’s Day! I hope those of you that still have your Father get to spend some time together. For those of you that have children, I hope that you are able to spend time with your kids and relish in being a father. You never know when life can change, so take advantage of all opportunities you have with your loved ones. May God bless you all! #keepthefaith #HappyFathersDay