PAPA CAN YOU HEAR ME?
Happy Father's Day
Richard Lincoln Underwood is the man in the photo above. At 21 he was quite handsome. In fact I always thought my dad was a good looking man, though extremely goofy at times. This photo was given to my mother while they were dating, because that is what young people did back then. She gave him a photo as well. These weren't pocket photos for their wallets, these were 8x10s suitable for framing, which I am sure they did. They were engaged on Valentines day and married in June of 1951. He was smitten.
Their family started almost a year later with the arrival of Ric, and gradually grew to a brood of 7. Dad used to say that 7 was the number of perfection. We weren't in any way perfect, but we all did reflect each other and both parents. The older I get the more I see how the genes of two people coming together can create 7 unique individuals. Not only do we have different personalities, but we also look slightly different though at time eerily similar.
I think Daddy is the reason we all love to laugh and make others laugh. He was silly and had moments of immaturity that frustrated my mother. He was a cut up, and most of his improvisation was groan-worthy. Nobody could pun like he did. Someone once said he missed his calling and should have been in advertising. Well, that's probably true. But he didn't much like working for other people. He enjoyed the freedom of his life too much to let someone else tell him where he had to be every day.
As a family we would sit in the second pew from the front of the church on Sunday mornings. Mom played either the piano or the organ. Dad sat with his bible in his lap and it didn't take long for him to fall asleep during the sermon. His bible usually slid off his lap and hit the floor. Sometimes he would wake up in time to catch it. He was our Sunday morning entertainment.
Imagine Jesus leaning over and pushing Dad's bible off his lap. Remember God has a sense of humor, too. I can just see Jesus laughing as Daddy is startled awake by the sound of his bible crashing to the floor.
As a father he wasn't perfect, but I don't know anyone who was or is. We all have to figure things out as we go and sometimes we don't figure it out until it is almost too late. Daddy loved all of us, but he wasn't comfortable with expressing that until his last few years. I spent more time with him than anyone else during that time, only because he would call, and ask me to lunch. We took a couple of long drives to my sister's house for Thanksgiving. I remember him going for walks alone in the morning in the walnut grove near her house. He was a nut himself, so it was the perfect place for him to meet with Jesus every day.
When Dad passed away he was listening to a CD that Mom had made of some of her musical arrangements. They had divorced several years earlier and he really missed her music. The CD played 24/7 during his last two weeks. I think it brought him peace. He said to me, "I can't wait to meet Jesus and breath that celestial air." Dad died of lung cancer. His last few weeks he struggled to breath.
Imagine Jesus and Daddy hanging out and cutting up and making fun of the angels. Well okay, maybe not. Maybe Dad just has a ketchup bottle on his nose. Imagine Jesus laughing at Dad's jokes just like all of us did.
Miss you Daddy. See you soon. Happy Father's Day!
Ephesians 6:2 "“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise."
Ecclesiastes 3:4 "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,"
Just a few pictures I have of Daddy. I even went to the "way back" machine and grabbed one of him at 7 months cir. 1930 and at 4 in 1933.