This man built treehouses and death-defying water slides.
Once he took me, my sister and little brother out in the woods and told us to find all the moss we could. He wouldn’t tell us why, just gave us buckets to fill.
Later he took the double-decker wire mesh tool rack off of his work truck and built the most amazing outdoor train track you’ve ever seen on our patio. It lasted all summer, he kept the moss alive by misting it with water every morning.
I got a BB gun on my fifth birthday that he painted blue-my favorite color. When I got tricked into shooting a black bird off a powerline (Chuck told me my gun wasn’t powerful enough to reach it) Daddy didn’t laugh at my hysterics, he helped me bury it instead.
He built pens in the backyard of our nice subdivision house for rabbits, ducks and baby goats because he grew up in the country and wanted us to know what it was like.
He took me squirrel hunting, even though he knew I’d be sent to sit in the truck while he and my brother got as many squirrels as they could.
I couldn’t do it. I’d kick leaves,make noise, and tell the squirrels to run. But he’d take me the next time anyway.
He took us camping at Uncle Crackerjack’s farm in Murfreesboro where we slept in the bed of his truck after fishing for sunperch and bluegill that we cooked over an open fire. My dog, Fat Albert would always roll in fresh cow poop, but daddy never complained. He’d just throw him in the pond before we left to go back home. We never went without my dog.
When Fat Albert had seizures, daddy would hold him in his lap and rub him until they were over. Trying to hide the big fat tears in his eyes from us.
He taught us how to catch crawdads in the creek, and if they were big enough, we’d boil them right there on the bank and have a snack.
He went trick or treating with us, scaring the mama’s that came to the door with bowls of candy. We’d howl and run like wild animals.
It wasn’t Halloween until someone called the cops. Of course he never got in trouble. He was George Haynes and that kind of stuff was expected. It wasn’t the new mama that moved in’s fault. She just hadn’t met him yet.
I was a tomboy and at that particular time the only girl, besides my sister, that lived in the subdivision. So campouts were at our house, and my daddy slept in a sleeping bag beside our campfire so I didn’t miss out.
He once climbed a twenty foot skinny tree to rescue a kitten. Took off his shoes and shimmied up the swaying tree like men I’d seen on TV climbing trees for coconuts, while everyone in the neighborhood came out to cheer him on.
He was my hero.
He challenged the first boy that asked me on a “date” to a race. Told Richie if he beat him, he could never ask me out again. He didn’t realize how fast that chubby kid could run. Richie beat him right there in our backyard with everybody watching. Daddy called foul, and won the second race, but Richie beat him two out of three and I went to the high school football game with Ritchie that night. He was a perfect gentleman, even gave me his football jacket to wear when it turned cold. It smelled like motor oil and McDonald’s french fries.
My daddy can build anything, fix anything, and paint the perfect tree. We had THE BEST science projects.
I broke his heart when I left home at fifteen, and he broke mine. But we finally got it figured out.
At my son’s wedding, after the bride danced with her father, and he realized there wasn’t going to be a dance for the mother of the groom-he pulled me out on the dance floor and made me feel like I was somebody.
It was the first time I’d ever danced with my daddy. Three marriages, but no fancy weddings – we’d never had the chance.
He is my daddy and I love him. It doesn’t matter if we argue about politics, religion, or anything else.
I know he’d climb that tree to rescue me if I needed it.