Yesterday was the birthday of one of the dearest, kindest souls I ever had the privilege of knowing and loving! It was my DADDY’s birthday! I’ve had him on my mind for the last few days. Thinking about those laughing brown eyes and that smile he had! I’ve thought about the different brothers and sisters I had and the stories I heard all through my growing up years! Like the time he was told that Lucille, Grady and Edith had been dancing (doing the Charleston no less). We were never allowed to dance! A preacher’s kids especially! SO, Daddy took the three of them outside, cut a switch and sat down under that tree. Then he made them dance the Charleston until they just couldn’t dance any more! Then he gave them each an apple, I’m sure with a lot of laughter on his part, and marched them back in the house! I can’t remember but I ‘ll bet that stopped their dancing for a while!
Then there was the time he heard that Robert had been gambling (playing checkers I think it was)! He asked Robert about it and Robert denied it! A few nights later daddy walked in to their bedroom and Robert was sound asleep, sitting up in bed, playing checkers on the quilt blocks! We laughed about that for years!
Johnny told daddy he needed 50 cents for school one day! Daddy told him he was sorry but he didn’t have it. Johnny refused to go to school without it! Daddy spanked him but he went as far as the church steps and sat down! Daddy brought him back to the house and spanked him again. The same thing happened! After the third time they finally scraped fifty cents together and sent him on his way! Stubborn little guy, wasn’t he?
I could tell you a lot of stories about Daddy and his Chaney bunch but that’s not all I have been thinking of! He had beautiful black hair and he would sit in a chair and let us kids comb it! Boy we thought that was something! We would comb it to the left, then to the right. That might seem like a small thing to you but to us it meant everything.
When we were sick with one of those childhood diseases, such as measles or such, he would come in with a bag of goodies and lay them on the bed beside us. You have to remember, that was hard times! That was a treasure to us!
Daddy worked at the little company store some! One day mama sent one of the kids to get a can of Salmon! After Mama had fixed the meal and everyone had eaten (some visiting children were there too) one of the kids said “Mama, Daddy said to wipe off the can because it had rust on it!” Mama got scared and gave all the children a dose of ex-lax! Later when Daddy got home Mama was telling him about it and daddy said “I didn’t say that, I said the can had dust on it!” Not long ago, one of those ladies that was present for that cleaning out, brought that up and we had a good laugh about it!
I remember Daddy gathering all of us around him as he read the bible to us at night and after we learned to read, we would each take our turn reading it out loud! The only problem was every time we read the word ass, as The Bible calls a donkey, we would giggle out loud! That kept us in trouble with daddy!
Once, Loretta and I got tickled at the dinner table! Daddy sent us out to the back porch and told us not to come back in until we could act right! We tried it three times and every time we looked at each other we would start again and back out to the porch we’d go! We both hated to wash dishes (we had a table full) so he made us take turns for a week! I mean WASH and DRY them both! We were two unhappy campers! But it cured our getting tickled at the table!
But the sweetest thing I remember about my Daddy was how very proud I was to be his daughter! Everyone loved him and looked up to him! I heard stories about him taking different people up on the mountain to pray about matters dear to his heart, people he married, people who reached out to him for help or advice. He never turned anyone away who came to him for whatever!
His love for his family! The memory of going out on the weekend and looking back to see mama and daddy sitting side by side in their rocking chairs, just being alone together! Or just sitting in the congregation and listening to him preach, feeling so proud that God had allowed me to be his daughter. His journey on this earth was a hard road, filled with hard work and a lot of disappointments! But He never faltered, kept climbing, until that Sunday morning God reached down, picked him up in His arms and took him home to be with Him! I remember that morning so well! Mama came into the bedroom and said “Peggy, get up !come see about your daddy! I can’t get him to answer me!” I ran in there, but I knew instantly he was gone! He was sitting on the couch, just as if he had gone to sleep, his Bible on his lap and his Sunday school lesson opened to the lesson! God decided it was time for His faithful servant to come home!
Mama was so depressed after he died and just about gave up herself, but Lucille talked to her, told her we had lost Daddy and we couldn’t bear losing her too! She came around and made it almost ten years before she died!
They are together again now! Along with seven of their children! No more sickness, no more pain, just basking in the love of God and his only begotten Son! One day, all who have asked Jesus into their hearts will be with them in that beautiful place where there will be no more sickness nor death! Sometimes I get awful homesick and one day I will lay down this old body of clay and Join them! Just as the song says “What a day ,glorious day that will be”!!