Both of my parents have always been my cheerleaders and been there to catch me when I fall. But, my dad was the one that taught me to change the oil in my car and how to tell if my tires need air.
He also was the one that packed up my things and moved me off to college. He carried a small refrigerator up several flights of stairs and judiciously placed it my dorm room that was to become my home away from home.
He helped my roommate at East Carolina to carry her belongings up to the room as well. Before leaving, he made sure we had everything we both needed.
He has faithfully checked leaks and strange noises coming from engine compartments and when I was younger he even helped take care of my horse.
When I was much younger, about 5 or 6 years old, he owned a green Datsun pick-up truck. He would load myself and all the neighborhood children who were playing together that day into the truck bed and drive us to the neighborhood ice cream store. Back then, there were no laws against children in the pickup box and no seat belt laws.
Once we arrived at the ice cream store the kindly man behind the counter would smile at the sight before him. An entire gaggle of children all elbowing and pushing each other, straining on young, bare tip-toes to see the tubs of ice cream in the coolers, as my dad patiently waited for us to all make up our minds and place our orders.
Once the orders were taken and the ice cream cones dipped, it was back to the truck and back home. My dad never seemed to mind the sorry condition we would leave behind in his truck. There was usually melted ice cream and possibly an entire cone that was dropped decorating the back of his truck and staining everyone’s clothes. The reward was several thoroughly satisfied young smiles looking back at him when we arrived back home.
Once home, the ice cream devoured, it was back to play time until dark or until a wise adult would decide it was time fro everyone to go home.
As I got older and developed an interest in horseback riding. Daddy would dutifully take me to Bladenboro for my riding lessons. On weekends, when it was horse show season he would get up early, taking me and some of my friends to meet our riding instructor to go to competitions.
Many times, he would attend the shows, cheering me and my friends on as we tried to win as many ribbons as possible.
Again, he would load us all into his truck with a big smile and listen as we all talked over each other about our day or what our plans were for the next horse show competition and which horses we wanted ride.
When Mom and Dad purchased my horse for me, it was my dad who helped to make sure the barn stayed maintained. He would do the things I could not such as patch up the roof, repair a door that had worked loose, or replace the latch — just out of reach of one prankster of a pony.
Yes, looking back I do realize I was lucky to have a Dad who was willing to take the time to see I was able to participate in the many things that I did growing up. I am glad I had two parents who were encouragers. I am thankful that he was there for me growing up and is still there for me today.
So on this Father’s Day weekend, I want to say thanks, Dad!
— Erin Smith is a staff writer with the Bladen Journal. She may be reached by telephone at 862-4163 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org