My dad

Just some random memories of my dad I thought I’d share this Father’s Day…

Coming down the mountain

When my kids were in school there was always a teachers’ workday around the third week in October. If you live in NC, you know that’s prime mountain time. I would take a day of vacation and would load the kids, and daddy, in the car and head to the mountains. Mom didn’t care for the winding roads so she didn’t care to go. On one particular trip we headed to Grandfather Mountain. I drove because by this time, daddy had lost most of his vision to macular degeneration. So we did our thing at the mountain and when it was time to leave (to drive down the mountain), I froze. I had a panic attack to be all panic attacks. I was terrified to drive down the mountain. So daddy drove. And although the man was considered legally ‘visually impaired’, I felt more safe with my daddy getting us down that mountain than I had confidence in myself to do it. Down at the bottom of the mountain, he pulled over and we switched drivers like it was nothing.

Is that Johnny Cash’s house?

We took a family vacation every summer. More often than not, one or two of my friends would go with us. One of those vacations was to Nashville, TN. Susan went with us that time. Susan was always a big picture taker and was snapping pictures of everything. So we’re doing the drive by tour of some of Nashville’s greatest stars’ homes and we get to Johnny Cash’s house. Daddy slows down so Susan can take a picture. But she can’t quite get the shot so she asks daddy if he would take it from the driver’s window. Sure, he says. So she hands him the camera and he clicks away. Later, after we’re back home Susan has her pictures developed and there’s one we can’t figure out. It’s of something rather odd looking we can’t identify. Then Susan starts counting the shots she’s missing and realizes she doesn’t have the shot of the Cash house. We go back and look a little closer at the odd one and sure enough, if you turned it this way and that way, daddy had taken a perfect up-close picture of his ear. I think Susan added to her photo book as “Johnny Cash’s house.”

That’s one ugly kid

When my son Garey was born, daddy spent almost every hour staring through the nursery window at his new grandson. Proud isn’t a strong enough word to describe him at that time. So like a lot of the new grandparents. he had to point out to every stranger sharing space at the window which one was his grandson. Keep in mind, my dad would strike up a conversation with anyone. So he’s at the window chatting up this other man and points to this baby in the nursery and says something along the line of “bless his heart – that is one ugly baby.’ Well, yeah. The ugly baby was that man’s newborn son. My dad could talk his way out of a lot of things but I think that one time he just shut up.

Ham biscuits and conversations

Back in the early days of owning the newspaper, daddy would ride with me and help me deliver. He suggested adding a few stops up along Randleman Road, coincidentally there was a Biscuitville right up the road. So every delivery day, we’d hit Biscuitville and he’d get a ham biscuit and small Pepsi. Then on the stops where he’d take the papers in, I’d sit in the car an extra ten or fifteen minutes waiting because he’d strike up a conversation with whomever was there. Sometimes I even had to go in and gently remind him we still had several more stops.

Um…my finger’s stuck in the door

My dad owned his own heating and air conditioning company and had several doctors as clients. One doctor owned property near Reidsville that had a fishing pond. He invited daddy and some friends to come fishing. I pitched a hissy because I wanted to go, too. So daddy let me go. I got my line hung up in a tree and daddy had to get it unstuck. I wouldn’t bait my own hook so daddy had to do it. I wouldn’t get the tiny little fish I caught off the line so daddy had to do it. I got my line caught in the tree, again, so daddy had to get it unstuck, again. My dad had the patience of Job but I was quickly becoming a pain in the ass. They finally decided to call it a day and packed up to come home. I don’t remember the friends daddy had with him that day but I do remember daddy was riding in the passenger side of the front seat and I was behind him in the back seat. With my little finger stuck in the slammed door. I had been such a pain in the patooty the whole time, I was too scared to tell him he’d shut my little finger in the door! I rode all the way home from Reidsville with it stuck in the car door.

Turn…Turn… Turn!

I was never really good with moving, mechanical stuff. Santa brought me and my sister a little mini dirt bike for Christmas one year. First time on it, I rode it straight into the house. Same with the riding lawn mower. So really, it’s daddy’s fault. He should have known better than to let me anywhere near his motorcycle. I’m bugging him to teach me how to drive the thing so he lets me take it for a spin around the house. Everything is going good until I have to turn. Straight into the side of his Suburban. Not only do I total his motorcycle, I’ve really messed up the Suburban. I remember sitting in the Emergency Waiting Room with him. He didn’t say a word. Not. one. word.

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Daddy and his brother, Sammy Chandler

 

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Daddy helped found and build Woodlake Baptist Church. Somewhere in the walls of that church, before the sheetrock went up, he placed two pocket-sized New Testaments dedicated to Garey and Nina.
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Daddy and Uncle Sammy, 1945.