Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers' Day

Richard Eller, Wayne Eller, and Jonathan Eller fishing at the NC Outer BanksHappy Father's Day.

Today I had the wonderful privilege of spending the day with my Dad. We didn't do anything all that different than any other Sunday that I go over to share lunch and the day wallowing in front of the TV, but it was just nice being there with him today. Lots of folks can't do that.

My brother is out of state and wasn't able to enjoy this day with him. And both my Mom and Dad are unable to spend the day with their fathers. Mom's dad died back in 2002 and we lost my other Grandfather this past Christmas. It was a little melancholy for them today. Mom mentioned that she had a file full of Fathers' Day cards but no Father.

The picture above is from one of our recent beach fishing trips. I think this one was probably taken about 3 years ago. That was one of the things that my Dad, my Grandfather, and I shared together. I'm so glad that we did. I am especially glad that Grandfather got one more good trip in this past November - just a few weeks before he died. I think that we all knew that it would probably be his last, but that didn't mess up things at all. In fact, I think that realization made it even better. We really enjoyed each other as much as we had in years. And Grandfather had the best time that he had in years.

Here's a little story from that trip that I hope I will always remember. My Grandfather always had a sweet tooth for as long as I can remember. This was a constant with him. Over the past few years, dementia had begun to strip away many of the layers of the Grandfather I had spent so many hours with throughout my life, but this is one thing that even dementia couldn't touch!

Anyway, one night Dad had gone to take his shower and had left Grandfather to fend for himself for a little while. I came up to get a little dessert, and when I got to the kitchen, I found him with a nice-sized stack of chocolate chip cookies and one of those Little Debbie® oatmeal cream cookies. When he saw me, he looked a little sheepish - he knew he had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar!

I said something like, "I see you found something to snack on." And I proceeded to go and cut myself a piece of my mom's pound cake. Well, Grandfather looked at that cake and said to me, "You know, I think that would be better than this. I'll trade you these cookies for a piece of that cake."

Well, I cut him a piece of cake too and he handed me the cookies and took both pieces of cake!

I sure miss him.

This summer I am getting a great opportunity to work with my dad in the garden. He is giving me some much needed advice and is pitching in here and there with physical assistance too. And last night we did something that we haven't done in probably 18 years - we went to see the Rowan American Legion baseball team in action. The tickets cost us $9 for both of us and then you could get loaded hot dogs for $1.50, drinks for $1.25, and peanuts and popcorn for $1 each.

It had just started raining when we got to the ballpark. They played the first inning (Rowan jumped out to a commanding 4 run lead) and then they stopped the game because of the rain. It rained pretty hard and we were sure that there was no way that we'd be watching nine innings that night, but fortunately (for the game) the rain tapered off and we were able to enjoy the entire game. It is fun to build these memories with him. (Rowan won 8-4 by the way!)

I am very blessed to have a father who loves God, loves my Momma, and loves me. (He even loves my brother and sister!) It seems to me that there are only so many ways to express your admiration and appreciation of your Dad. I find that words really don't convey the truth about how much I appreciate, love, and look up to my Dad. Hopefully he knows this because he has been in the same spot.

Anyway, here's a Happy Fathers' Day to my Dad - the best dad in the world!

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