In honor of Father's Day, and my precious Daddy.
I heard a poem once entitled "The Dash", that really made me think. I copied a little part of it here. It is about a woman's life, but it can be applied to a man as well. I remember going to the graveside, and thinking about this poem, and the life of the wonderful man we were burying that day. Many people would pass that way after us, and maybe read his name, and dates, but as the poem states, it was the time in between, represented by the dash, that mattered the most...so, if I may...some of the things that my Daddy's dash represented.
The baby of his family, who was really babied by his mother.
A young man who loved sports...esp. Basketball and track.
A young man who was a little mischievous. He had a pet flying squirrel. He would tie a string around his tail, and the other around a button on his shirt. Then he would put the squirrel in his shirt pocket, and go to school. He said that the squirrel would come out and sit on his shoulder during class.
A patriot. He served the country he loved, in the U.S. Air Force. He was quick to remember those who had served on Veteran's Day, and those who lost their lives for freedom on Memorial day. He had a favorite joke he liked to tell, when people found out that he had served in the Air Force. He would say, "Yes, I was a pilot." People would sound impressed, and then he would say, "They would tell me to go and pile this over there, and I would.". Then he would grin his wry grin, and wait for them to get it. He refused to fly after he got out of the Air Force, and never got into another airplane again. He was stationed overseas in France, when he got a telegram telling him that his own father had passed away. He did not get to attend the funeral.
A man who worked hard, and loved his family harder.
A faithful, patient, loving husband.
A Christian who loved God and his church. He helped teach Sunday School classes, and was on the board of trustees. I remember him working hard to memorize whole chapters of the Bible, and keeping notebooks full of sermon notes.
A big kid, who had a huge heart, and a dry sense of humor.
A tenderhearted man. Although I only saw him cry on a couple of occasions. One being when my grandmother (his mother) passed away.
A man who loved music...he loved Southern Gospel and Bluegrass Gospel the most. He loved to play his harmonica. I loved to hear him play it. He bought my piano, and encouraged me through several years of lessons. I still remember sitting in his lap as a little girl with my ear leaning against his chest while he sang, "Church In the Wildwood". I also remember him bouncing me on his knee while he quoted a little poem he made up just for us.
A fantastic Daddy. He supported me, quietly, and with strength, in everything I was involved in. From dance recitals to parades, to football half time shows. He sent me to lessons for all of the above, and paid for many church, twirling, and band camps.
A wise man, of few words. But when he spoke, people listened.
A fantastic Grandaddy (until it came time to change diapers). He loved his grandchildren with all of his being. He was always worried about their safety. He was creative and playful with them.
A man who rarely got angry, but when he did, it was for a really good reason.
A humble man. A man of quiet, gentle strength. A man with integrity. A man who did right because it was right. A man who kept his word. A man who deserves so much more credit than a dash between two dates. A man that I miss every day, and know because of his personal relationship with our Lord, that I will see again in heaven.
Robert Raymond Maddox
April 8, 1934 - Oct. 3, 2000
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
© 1996 All Rights Reserved, Linda Ellis