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The Example He Set - A Tribute to Dad

Updated on August 20, 2014
Dad, Mom and Me 1958
Dad, Mom and Me 1958 | Source

R.P. Smith, “Smitty” was one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet, but he wasn’t someone you’d necessarily want to make angry, I know this because I’m his daughter, and when I was a teenager I was very good at causing him to lose his temper; I think most of his grey hair was because of me.

Dad and I had our moments, but he never failed to tell me how much I meant to him, I just wish I would have spent more time telling him how much he meant to me. I was always his baby-girl. I’ll never forget when I was twelve years old; the day I started my “Girly-time” (Menses), I thought my dad was going to cry; I could hear my mom telling him that I had turned into a young woman, and he argued with her, saying that I was too young for that. Later that same day, after he gathered himself, dad came to my room where I was laying down and he sat down beside me and asked how I was feeling, I told him that I was okay, and then he so very sweetly said, “You let me know if you need me to go to the store for anything okay?’ I could visualize that shopping trip now; dad carrying in one hand, a six-pack of Oly beer for himself, and in the other hand a box of feminine napkins for me, and he wouldn’t be one bit embarrassed either!

Dad, Mom and the Boys
Dad, Mom and the Boys | Source

Recently, my cousin shared some old family photos from the late 1950’s. When I look at my dad’s face in those photographs, I see such a manly guy. He wasn’t very big in stature, but there was something so strong and masculine about him, especially his face. I wish I could think back and remember dad looking that way; healthy and strong, but for some reason my memories are dominated by what dad looked like in the last ten years of his life, after he began his battle with cancer. That is not to say that I’m remembering my dad at his weakest time of life, but at his strongest. Those last ten years took a lot more strength for dad to live each day, than the strength it took back when he was a healthy man, but I have to admit, I truly love seeing the photos of my healthy dad.

This passed January I got a cell phone. I was so happy to have a phone again, but I ended up being an answering service for the person who previously had my phone number. I received so many calls for them, that I made a quick text to respond with, There was something that happened right after I got the phone in January. I received a text from a girl who was trying to contact the previous owner of the number. She was asking for prayer concerning her dad. He was on the list for a heart transplant, but he needed to have the surgery soon, because his health was failing rapidly. Now, I couldn’t send that girl a quick text stating that she had the wrong number, so I replied to her text and told her that I was not the person she was trying to contact, but I would be happy to pray for her dad. Four days later the girl sent another text asking for prayer because her dad was having his heart transplant surgery the next morning. The next day I received one final text telling me that everything went well with surgery.

I can’t help but think about that girl and her dad, and what a happy Father’s Day this is going to be for their family. That girl didn’t know me, but she loves her dad so much, that even a prayer from a stranger on the other end of a wrong number meant something to her.

That little gal has another Father’s Day to spend with her dad, and I know that she will cherish every moment with him. I don’t have any more Father’s Days with my dad; he’s been gone almost twenty-seven years, but the influence on my life that my dad left behind, will live on forever. Because the example that my daddy lived by was so ingrained in me, without even realizing it, I have raised my son in the example that my dad set.

Dad did everything right along with mom; he cooked (Better than mom did), cleaned, grocery shopped, did laundry etc… But he didn’t do those things because mom had some honey-do list, or some invisible whip she cracked; he did them because that’s how he was, and that was the kind of man that I was raised by. It has always been important to me that my son be self sufficient and not needy, but I didn’t realize until recently that dad’s influence was where that actually came from. What a tribute to my dad’s life,

I have recently had to change my phone number, but I think if I could have had the opportunity to send one more text to that little gal, I would tell her to make sure that her dad knows the impact he has made in her life. If only I could have one more Father’s Day with my dad, I would tell him how proud I am of the kind of man that he was and I would thank him for the wonderful example he left behind.

I write this not from the standpoint of putting my dad on a pedestal because he is gone, but from the realization of the influence dad had on my life when he was living. And as much as I would love to be able to share that with him, I think what was important to dad was that I knew how much he loved me.

I was a child one day and a young woman the next, but to dad I would forever be his baby-girl.

Have a Happy and Blessed Father's Day!

Tribute Written for Dad's Funeral

July 7, 2014 - While looking through one of my old journals I found the tribute poem that I wrote for my dad's funeral. I read this at his service..

Tribute to Our Father - November 1987

I promised dad in silence our last moments spent alone,

We would think of this; his passing, as his waited journey home.

It's important that dad know for all his many years spent here,

That he's left behind not sorrow, but a legacy of cheer.


Dad was a good natured man, with an occasional temper flair,

I remember when he kicked the cat, then apologized sincere.

And how he hated any change, in his ways he was surely set,

But he always managed to adapt, and conform with no regret.


We should always have good memories when we think of our dear dad,

For the years he spent in happiness, by far outweigh the bad.

And I'd like to take this time to thank him for our blessed success,

For he left with us a treasure; these priceless memories we possess.

End



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