My father has been gone for fourteen years but I still miss him. He was the sweetest, most gentle man I’ve ever known. Daddy taught me by example. He was a man who always tried to see both sides of an issue. If someone was rude to him he’d say, “I don’t know what kind of a day that man/woman has had, I don’t think they’re mad at me.” My friends have often commented that I wouldn’t know an insult if I was given one. I always assume, like Daddy that they’ve had a hard day.

Driving down a street in town he’d wave at everyone. When I’d ask, “Who is that?” He’d reply, I don’t know but they might know me.”

Daddy was a religious man in the tradition of the old Scottish Presbyterian church. He didn’t believe in shopping on Sunday (it meant you were causing another person to work), or smoking or drinking (defiling the body). He thought card playing was associated with gambling, therefore was wrong, and he believed that dancing led to danger. He had a little booklet describing how dancing could arouse passions.

We waged silent battles around some of these restrictions. I didn’t want to smoke but refused to “take the pledge” (sign a paper saying that I’d never drink alcohol). My friends and I played cards hour after hour and my mother intervened so that I could go to school dances. Daddy never gave up on me and I always tried to please him.

Dancing with my father, 1990

A photo that I’ve always treasured was taken at my nephew Eric’s wedding. I persuaded Daddy to dance with me. His first and only time on a dance floor.