No son ever has a perfect set of parents, but son ever had a set of parents as great as mine…well, that Kid in the manger did have a perfect Dad.
Love. Encouragement. Guidance. Discipline (plenty of this). Vision. My parents gave all of those things and more to me and my siblings. I hated splitting wood at 7:30 am on Saturday morning, especially with a 4 year supply out under the shed! Today, I give thanks for the lesson in hard work, responsibility, and vision for the future. Looking back, I didn’t hangout after school or on the weekends with friends as much as most kids did. One of the reasons was the fact that I simply didn’t mind being home with the folks. The night I surrendered to full time ministry – my parents embraced it, supported it, and didn’t treat it as a ‘phase’.
My Parents sacrificed for us kids. Dad basically gave up hunting, fishing, shooting and the rest to be at all our baseball, basketball, football and soccer games. My mom probably could have had nicer ‘things’, but instead they invested in what we wanted. I didn’t know it then. I do now. I want to do the same for my kids. Although, I hope not to go to very many soccer games…please God let them love American Football!
My hero isn’t fictional, or a movie star. He isn’t a pro-athlete. My Dad is my hero. The first person I told about Julie in my family was my mom. I suppose because in many ways Julie is so much like you.
Hoyt and Donna Raby – The best Dad and Mom a kid could have!
Archie and Bonnie Raby.
Not a day goes by that I’m not living out some lesson passed on to me by my late grandfather. “Pa” as we called him was a walking book of proverbs and jokes. Oh, to have a fake sledgehammer to throw at people again. “Brad, You’ve got to be a good manager”, he would say. I had no idea how much of life was simply about learning to manage well. I have mused recently that one of gifts he gave to me was confidence. Pa owned a service station where all the kids, nephews, and grandkids served as apprentices. I spent many summer days working at the station. When I was 12 or 13 years old Pa would leave the shop for an hour or more to go run errands, get parts etc. He actually left me – barely a teenager there to run the show. I don’t know if it was intentional, but he instilled into me a confidence and esteem that is strong. He trusted me and knew I could do the job. I miss you Pa.
Granny Raby. Just typing this sentence causes me to yearn for your biscuits and gravy. I have never met a more selfless person in my life. A woman totally devoted to her husband, family and God. Always singing in the choir just to the right of the organ. Always in her place at church. I would often be at her house as Pa and Granny lived just up the hill – and it is impossible for me to number the times I would see her Bible just next to the rocking chair she sat in. It was there because Granny is always ‘in the Word’. She gave me my first truck, taught me the correct way to write an ‘8’, made me countless apple crisp cakes, whipped me with switches, and bought me my first ‘nice’ Bible. Thanks Granny.
Raymond and Lois Thacker.
No one could love and hate Johnny Majors more than my Pa Thacker. Saturday meant two things as a young child: Rummy 500 and Vol Football at Granny and Pa Thacker’s house. I didn’t know Pa Thacker in his strongest days, as a work injury lead to lifelong paralysis, but I spent enough time to know how tough he must have been. The physical paralysis didn’t weaken his will. He knew what he believed – and you simply weren’t going to persuade him otherwise. I believe he taught me to have a backbone. He demonstrated what it meant to look pain right in the face and never flinch. I must have separated my shoulder 4 times my senior year in football, but never missed a play. Thanks Pa Thacker.
If I were given one last meal to eat before I die – I would call Granny T. and have her whip up the cube steak special. I am so thankful she passed the art on to my wife Julie.
If you know a man or men, who think women are inherently weaker than us(men) – let me introduce them to my Granny Thacker. I don’t have the space to tell all the stories, but this woman did more than most men could ever dream of. With my grandfather paralyzed and unable to work – she did it all. As a kid, I didn’t even realize what she was doing because she never complained about her life, at least I cannot recollect her ever being anything but upbeat around us grandkids. If anyone had a reason to complain and me cranky it was her, but she never was.
For your strength – Thank You Granny Thacker.
This has to be the one of the longest posts I have ever written and I have yet to write about by my Brothers: Jess, Archie and Caleb…or my Sister, Hannah. I love you all with all my heart.
Blythe’s, Yager’s, Wallicks, Allen and Sarah, Dana, Gordon and Carol, Floyd and June, Brian and Kristy, Kieth and Angie and on and on. Thank you for helping me be me.