Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day Daddy!

I seldom am at a loss for words. And, I guess it really isn't that I don't have anything to say it's quite the opposite. There is so much I could say about my daddy that I don't know where to begin. He is the epitome of greatness. Let me give you just a little of his background.

He was born to loving parents, one of seven children. He was born with glaucoma. He suffered many days without seeing with intense eye pain. He eventually went totally blind at age eleven. None of that stopped him. Due to his circumstances, he was forced to attend the school for the deaf and blind in St. Augustine, Florida. He was double promoted, skipping the eighth and the eleventh grades. After graduating high school, he attended Southeastern Bible College and graduated from there as well.

I don't have any of my childhood pictures here in Jamaica, but this is one of my favorites of my daddy holding his only grandchild on the day he was born. When I was a child he held me just as tenderly as he is holding Nathan in the above picture.

And, he has held me close with those tender hands for the last forty three years. I guess if I had to pick of one or two of daddy's characteristics they would have to be gentleness and full of wisdom. People have often asked me what it was like growing up with a blind father. I have always said that the only thing my daddy couldn't do is drive a car. And to be honest with you he has sort of done that. I can remember him backing the car out of the carport so he could wash it. He never lacked in ways of discipline. Although he had no trouble whatsoever spanking my brother and me, his correction was always firm but gentle. I have never heard my daddy raise his voice to me.

My daddy is the smartest man I know. Not only academically but in all aspects of life. I can remember when I was young and stupid I got into credit card trouble. I don't know how he found out about it but one day we were at lunch and he told me that he and mama wanted to help me pay off my credit card debt. They had discussed it and they would give me the money to pay off the debt and I could repay them without the high interest rates. He didn't see my embarrassing smile as I said, "Daddy you can't do that because I owe a lot." He assured me that he knew it was a lot and they still wanted to help. However, he didn't know quite how much it was and when he pressed me for the amount, I told him. Unmoved, all he said was, "Oh! I didn't know it was that much." Even though he didn't lend me the whole amount he still helped me. He helped me get a loan in my name, using their house for collateral at a much lower interest rate than the credit cards wanted. That part shows his goodness. He also got an insurance policy to cover the amount of the loan just in case I defaulted on it. He had me pay the premium on the policy. That part shows his wisdom. I learned a very valuable lesson.

My daddy is talented in so many ways. He is an accomplished musician, playing the organ and the accordion. He tunes pianos. He sings. He preaches. He teaches. He fixes. He cuts up potatoes and rutabagas in perfect cubes. He builds. He reads braille. He types on a brailler and on a keyboard. He continues to learn. Within the last year he has learned to surf the internet with his talking computer. He's fluent in Spanish. He made such an impact in the country of Paraguay as a missionary that when we returned after eighteen years to visit, the people in the airport greeted him by name, "Hermano Rolando." It was that way wherever we went.

But, mostly what he does, is, he loves. Unconditionally.

Happy Father's Day Daddy! I am so blessed to get to call you mine!


Anonymous said...

That is a wonderful Father's day card. I don't deserve all those kind words, but I appreciate your thinking that way. I am proud of you and your family. Daddy

Nathan's Uncle said...

Our Daddy truly is all those things and more.

He also showed his wisdom when he discovered the best way to discipline Carla as a kid was to take away her soccer ball, or "her life" as she wailed it in the bedroom.

He also had Carla take a loan out in her name to pay for her college. He said if she got good grades he would pay it, if not, she could. Luckily, he figured that out after I was done.

Nathansma said...

You don't have to tell all the family secrets. :)

Anonymous said...

We think you did an awesome job of honoring your Dad and he is so truly deserving! We love you too Bro. Roland and cherish every moment we get to spend with you and Sister Evelyn.
E & D
Oh! By the way,Bro. Howard,We love to hear the stories!!!!!!!!!!