Friday, June 19, 2009

1101 Hits

Weird title, huh?

Sitting in my office getting a little study time in and I pulled up the search box to find out just how many times the word "father" is in the Bible (KJV). Well, now you know where the title for this post comes from - 1101 times the word "father' appears in the Bible. With only 970 verses, there are some multiple occurrences.

As we approach this Father's Day, I have been thinking a lot about my Dad recently. I grew up in a very loving home - Mom and Dad were both dedicated to rearing us according to Biblical teaching: Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. They both worked at very difficult jobs to provide for us the basic necessities of life. I don't begrudge for a moment my early station in life, rather, I am so thankful for the life lessons contained in my childhood.

I remember coming in from school and being trained to change into my play clothes. It didn't take me long to learn this lesson - I hated those Toughskin jeans. I swear I believe they could have stood in the corner by themselves they were so stiff and inflexible. There was no way to run in those clothes if I wanted to.

Some of my earliest memories that I can remember of my Dad's work was getting to go with him to his job at Cotton Producers Hatchery on Grove Street. (Yeah, I know, kind of ironic huh that I too ended up in the "chicken business") The building is still there, today it's Southern States Supply. The Hatchery was moved into a new building on Athens Highway just south of Gainesville. Just as if it were yesterday, I remember the Asian folks in there sexing the baby chicks; I remember opening the drawers to the incubators looking to find out where all that noise was coming from; I remember sitting on the steps in the doorway of that chick bus staring out the door windows watching the road go by as Daddy would drive to farms delivering chicks ( He would be a wanted felon for letting me sit there today); I remember playing race car driver on the dolly's in that building, and I remember that barrel (55 gal drum) that smelled so bad in the back (Offal waste). The most profound memory is one I can't believe I can actually remember, because I was only 3(barely). In March January of 1960, Gainesville experienced a very abnormal winter, with snow (11.5 inches) and ice to the point that the National Guard was employed to deliver feed to the chicken houses in this area. I remember my Daddy laying in the snow putting chains on an old panel wagon that was the service vehicle for the hatchery. I remember thinking how much my Daddy must love those little chickens to be going to all this trouble to go and check on them.

As I grew older, I remember Daddy would work nights at the funeral home. This was cool, 'cause at this time the funeral homes were also the ambulance services. I loved to go with him on Friday nights to the football games - just like Navin R Johnson ( think Steve Martin comedy) I was somebody! What I didn't like was the times I didn't get to go with him.

Now that Mom and Dad have been empty nesters for some time, they are finally getting to spend some quality time together and do things they could only dream of as a young couple. I am fortunate in so many ways. Dad lost his father 42 years ago - It's hard for me to imagine that I've had my father around for 20 years more than he did. Wow!

Back to the title: when I saw the results of the search I just sat and stared at that number for a while, as it seemed God was speaking to me even through a 4 digit number.

1 for the Father, 1 for the Son, 1 for the Holy Spirit. Oh yeah, that "0"? That's me. I fail to measure up to the men that have preceded me in my family line. Oh, I've not done anything too terribly wrong, but when you stack my life up against my father, grandfather, and the generations preceding him, well, it would be like trying to measure the width of an ant with a yardstick. The achievements they accomplished, without the abundance of resource with which I am blessed, are a landmark to remind me of a greater generation.

Glad I still have the chance to go to Cracker Barrel with Dad on Thursday's, I hope I get to make many more trips.

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