Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cake & Candles in Heaven

Today is--or was--my Dad's 84th birthday.

How do you say that after your loved one is gone...It's still his special day!

My Dad was born on the 20th of April in 1924. His family lived in Missouri & worked in the sawmills. Sometime before Dad was born the Brown family loaded up & went to Oklahoma to work in the sawmills there. While there the family of six (and later baby Duane!) lived in a tent. A few years ago my Aunt Fern told of the times while living there. She said they thought they had it pretty good as they had a wooden floor built for their tent! What luxury....

He has been gone now for 3 1/2 years--sometimes it seems like he never left us--and sometimes it seems so long ago since we spent those long days helplessly sitting in the ICU room at Menorah Hospital. We still miss him so much.

But this is a day of remembering happy memories. We could hardly wait in the summer time for Dad to get home from work to take us swimming. It would be out in the country in some farmers muddy pond! And to top it off, Dad would make us memorize scripture & quote it to him before we would set off on our little adventures.

We took camping trips. At first we just had a little tent, Coleman table top stove, cooler & a trunk load of fishing poles. Once we went on a 3 week camping trip to Yellowstone National Park, staying in our tent all but two or three nights. Later Mom & Dad handcrafted a fold-out camper, using our old tent as the pop-up--& we thought we were really ready to camp in fashion!

Dad was my driving instructor. We always had a stick shift car (until AFTER I got my license!) and off we would go out in the country on the gravel roads and he would let me get behind the wheel. (That was before the days of having to get a permit before you got your license!) He taught us to drive defensively...always think about what the other car is going to do.

He was a master when it came to barbecuing! Being a welder, he handcrafted a heavy duty grill & cooked up delicious burgers, chicken, pork steak & once in a while a great sirloin.

He made us things. He worked for a pipeline & was a welder. He would get their scrap metal & would never think of buying something he could make! Our swing set would probably have held the fattest kid in town! We had a teeter-totter that not only "teetered", but swiveling on a ball bearing in the middle. If there were 3 of us kids playing, one would push the other two until we were twirling like a helicopter blade, & then quickly run out of the way. That was probably our favorite! He made us a pogo stick that had such a heavy spring we could hardly jump! He made us stilts! He made me a heavy duty hula hoop out of garden hose and I really had to "hula" to keep the thing up! And I think it was Steve that had the walking springs that strapped on our shoes---which were very dangerous & never worked just right.

He was a devout Christian. Dad loved the Lord and wasn't ashamed to testify of his salvation. He almost always carried a little New Testament in his shirt pocket which he would read on his lunch hour at work. I remember seeing him many times just pulling his little Bible out of his pocket to read a few verses. He took us to revivals, fellowship meetings, church camp meetings & any special services that might be within driving distance.

He was also faithful to his own parents. My Grandpa & Grandma Brown were never wealthy and Dad would see to it that they had what they needed. About every other Saturday we would all load up in the car to go to Grandma Brown's for the day, either taking groceries to them, or going grocery shopping for them later on. Dad would do any small chores that might need attending to. Later, when Grandpa was gone & Grandma was in a Nursing Home, we spent most Saturdays going to visit her. Dad would take her favorite fruits to her and I remember him sitting, reading Scripture to his Mom.

Later on he became a great hero to his grandchildren. He always had time for them, time to play with them, time to torment them, tease them, & teach them about the important things in life. Like how to ride a bike, how to climb a tree, how to fish....I could go on and on.

Not just because he was mine (but I'm sure I'm a whole lot prejudiced!) Dad was a great man. We wish he didn't have to go through some of the things he experienced in those last few months but we had been warmed my the Hospice nurse that he probably wouldn't live very many months after our Mom was gone. If Heaven has candles & cake, maybe they are having a big birthday party today!

Happy Birthday, Dad!


greatkidzmom said...

What an awesome tribute to the World's Most Incredible Dad. We could write a book, couldn't we, Sis?
Garry, the kids & I went to the cemetery after church today. We looked for something special to put on the grave, but we could hear him saying, "Kids, don't buy anything you 'cain't' eat", so we honored what he would have wanted and just visited the grave.
Thanks again, for the precious tribute to our dad. (you could have DEFINITELY left out the picture of my fat, pregnant self cutting his hair)!!!
Little Sis

Sheila said...

I couldn't pass posting that picture, Baby Sis! I love it!

Thanks for going to the cemetery once again. I'm sure he was just fine with just a little visit from you. :)

Karen Walden said...

What a sweet post for Grandpa Brown! I have so many wonderful memories of him and Grandma Brown and think of them nearly every day!
I wish they were still alive and could come to visit us! I will always remember how he used to tease me about the boys, would throw me back and lay a big kiss on me when they got to our house, him singing "O my darling" to Jeff and I and then years later... Parker, putting hot mustard on my retainer, his loud singing in church, him testifying every time he would come to our church, vacations together, spending summers at their house, and the list goes on and on...
He was a wonderful Grandpa and I wish he were still alive for my kids to know and love!
Thanks for being the such a wonderful Grandpa! I will cherish my memories of you forever!!!
(I can just see him blowing out the candles on his cake in Heaven today with his cheeks all puffed full of air!!! :)
His granddaughter,