That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine

Published 10:16 am Monday, June 17, 2024

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This past Sunday we had the funeral of a member at my Mitchell County church and he was also a good friend. Even more, he was a faithful family man and good father. As we approach Father’s Day this upcoming Sunday, his three children will face that special day for the first time in their lives without him. Been there and done that myself, as most of the men and women my age.

            I was thinking about an old song as I pondered the remembering and honoring of those men who have been faithful to their families and their children. The song? Gene Autry released the song in 1932 and it was entitled That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine. The singing cowboy didn’t write the song, but his name appears as a co-writer. His brother-in-law Jimmy Long wrote it in 1930.

            The song recounts a life that has not lived up to the ideals of the father and the son wishes he could have a do-over. How many of us feel the same way?

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            My daddy was a hard-working farmer and, before that, “toted” ice. That was in those years before refrigerators were staples in every house.

            When I was born in November of 1949, many homes would have had “Fridgidaires,” Although many companies made refrigerators, Fridgidaire was sort of a generic name for the appliance. It was made by the General Motors Corporation until they sold the company in 1979. The name and appliance was picked up by Electrolux in 1986 and Fridgidaires are still made. It’s a good name and product even today.

            Thankfully, in the year that I was born, November was a good month for an iceman and momma tells the story that in those days when I was born and she was in the hospital, daddy was asked to go by the business office of the hospital and pay them for her stay and my birth.

            Daddy had a good personality and I’m sure he paid in full and was glad that the Lord had blessed him with enough customers so that he could take care of that business.

            Pretty soon the ice business sort of melted away, but not before his daddy had made enough money to buy a little farm and daddy had another way of providing for his growing family.

            Farming in the 1950’s cannot be imagined by current standards of farming. Most farms were less than 200 acres and most of that would have been in what we called “woods.” Daddy had a one row Farmall tractor and another one, a gray Massey-Ferguson. Later, a John Deere 1010 was added to the fleet.

            The large scale farming operations of today would have been unthinkable when daddy did the bulk of his farming. And, of course, there were the hogs that had to be fed every day.

            As hard as that farm life was back then, I never heard daddy complain about it. He worked hard every day, taught his sons to work by his example, but always rested on Sundays. Sundays were for the Lord and daddy was faithful to, not only taking his family to church, he went with them and taught Sunday School for over 50 years.

            He passed in October of 2018 and had reached the great age of ninety years. I read the words of Genesis at his funeral.  “Altogether, Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.”

            And, yes, he had hair of silver and a heart of gold. God had made him rich in ways that will never grow old.