This is a guest post by my brother in tribute to our father for Father’s Day.
With Father’s Day less than twenty four hours (24) away, it is difficult to erase the memory of my own dad’s significant impact on my life. Here are the attributes that made Daddy, Uncle Val(as he was affectionately called by all) my hero.
F – Faithful
Daddy was extremely faithful to his family. There would be no special occasion that would go by without him making a special attempt to keep the family ties going. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Graduations: you name it, he was always there. Whenever separated by distance, he was always just a telephone call away.
A – Articulate
His formal education was limited as far as modern standards dictate. However, he was well schooled in the street side university and also from the teachings and learnings of his favorite books 📚- all sixty-six (66) of them(if you know what I mean). He also took interest in the famous philosopher Kahlil Gibran whose work has spanned many decades and is still appropriate today. He was always one to ask us to help him find an appropriate quote from some wise person for use in his speaking engagements. Daddy was a man of few words but he always seemed to get his point across in an effective manner.
T – Teacher
Although our mother was the one with the formal training in education, Daddy was a teacher in his own right. Giving us valuable lessons in life and indeed survival skills. He taught me how to tie a tie, how to shave… Things some of us take for granted until we have no one to show us. Engendering in us love for the Creator, love for self, love for family and love for our fellow man. His calm, unperturbed persona was always a joy to behold.
H – Humility, Humor, Happiness
His attributes beginning with H are so numerous and it would be a gross injustice to omit them
Humility was his hallmark. This also ties back to his love for his fellow human beings – Daddy was able to move with princes and paupers with adept ease.
Humor was his trademark. He had an impeccable sense of humor and had the uncanny ability to make the most difficult situation light.
Happiness – he was a firm believer in being happy in whatever circumstance
E – Entertaining
Daddy was a joy to be around. He was always the consummate entertainer. Entertainment took place in various forms – his many stories, jokes, facial expressions, gesticulations or his dancing at church during choir recitals or even the work experience. As a lay preacher, his messages were always well received. Through my critical eyes he would always solicit my feedback – using one of his favorite quotes :- ‘blessings come down as a sweet smelling savior[savor]’). Even while giving the word of Salvation, he would find a moment, in a humorous way, to identify the particular church member who was dosing or the individual who was unfortunately stepping in late.
R – Real
As a father he always kept it real, telling it to his children as he saw the situation. He would say ‘Listen [insert names here], it is what it is.’ This has helped us to stay grounded.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Make no mistake, our mother was the captain of the ship, but he was definitely a great co-captain in his own right. Indeed Daddy, you were a “Mountain of a Man”.
It has been seven long years since you have been gone, but your memory lives on. You have left an indelible impression on our lives that can never be erased. If there was one regret I have in you leaving us when you did, it’s that you never got a chance to met your only grandson. I want to let you know that he loves you, even though you never met. I am sure you do too. He keeps your photos in his room. At times he cries because he never got a chance to meet you. Breaks my heart…
If I could get another chance
Another walk, another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never ever end
How I’d love, love, love
To dance with my father again
– Excerpt from Luther Vandross’ “Dance with my father again”