Today's post is a conglomeration of previous posts about my step father and I. Today, would have been his birthday.
"Darling, wake up!"
I woke slowly up and saw my Daddy's face grinning at me. What in the world? The sky was dark, lots of stars, no moon.
"Shhhhhh Don't wake your mom or sisters!"
My step sister Celda, his second to youngest, daughter, not Linda; she'd already gone back to live with her mother years before, and my sister were asleep in the next room.
I was totally confused. He told me to dress warm, and to bring my blanket.
He left the room for me to get dressed.
I was in the third grade, and it was so strange. Daddy was always up to something strange. He and I shared many many secrets ...all of them made me laugh. So ... I wiped the sleep from my eyes and put my clothes on.
I took my blanket and went into the kitchen. I had my favorite slippers on instead of my shoes. Daddy was waiting at the table. He shined a flashlight in my face and then his, and said in a really weird voice "are we ready freddy?"
I had no idea ..but hey!
So, I followed him outside and there was a ladder leading up to the roof ... huh?
He took my blanket and shined the flashlight on the ladder.
We'd been up there the week before doing some repairs. So, I was familiar with how to climb up safely ...but at night?
He shined the light on his face and gave me a cartoon grin.
So, up the ladder I went. He stood close enough to me so that I knew I was safe.
I got up there and saw, on the flat of the roof ... a blanket, a camping lantern, a picnic basket and a couple of pillows.
I looked down at my Daddy ...and he smiled. I stood aside to let him come up. I started to walk to the blanket and Daddy said
"Don't move till I get up there, I know you feel safe, but without light, you might not be, you need me near you!"
So, he gets there, and we walk to the blanket. His pillow and blanket were already up there, and a pillow for me.
In the basket ...a thermos of hot chocolate, and a bowl of popcorn. How did he pop that without waking anyone up! Smell or noise? Suddenly, I realized I could smell it in the house, I just had been so confused by his midnight games, I hadn't paid attention.
"Daddy, what are we doing?"
"Watch! About 3 minutes later a shooting star ... and within seconds ...another ...and before I knew it ... I was watching my first meteor shower!!!
We ate the popcorn and drank the hot chocolate and when the bowl was empty and the ooohs and ahhhs and "look Daddy's!" were getting to be redundant ... we laid there and watched ... and watched ... and all too soon ...the stars fell with less frequency.
Then we went about 5 minutes in total silence between us ... and not a single star fell ....just the sounds of the night in the mountains ... and the song of love between a father and daughter ...
"Darling, it's over"
"Darling, I love you"
"I know Daddy, I love you."
It's springtime. Springtime will always bring memories of my step dad, my Daddy. Ok I might as well face it, just about anything will bring up memories of him. He was rather precious to me.
But springtime. He loved to garden.
Where I grew up, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada's, right outside of Yosemite National Park, we had 2 acres. A large part of that 2 acres was our vegetable garden.
It was the responsibility of Daddy and me to make sure it got planted, weeded and harvested. From the first year we lived there, till we moved away when I was in the 8th grade. It was our garden.
When I was little, 1st grade, I didn't quite get all that gardening took. I understood quite a bit about things, and occasionally, my parents assumed I knew things I didn't know ..Which usually lead to trouble.
In the case of gardening, it was no exception.
Dad and I worked hard to work the soil. It hadn't been used as a garden before, so lots of tilling had to be done. We had to till it a couple of times to make sure it was ready to grow the vegetables we were going to plant. Then we had to make the rows. Each row, was slightly different than the other, it would depend on what vegetable was going to go where. Some rows were farther apart than others. Very narrow rows where the radishes, carrots, green onions go, but very wide where the squash, pumpkins, and eggplant goes.
We had the ground tilled, the rows made, then we went in and made individual little 'pockets in the ground. "not necessarily necessary, but just a bit of extra depth" Dad would say, each year. That year, I had no clue what he meant.
Then, we'd walk by each row, and stick a stick at the end of the row. On the stick, was a packet of seeds(empty) with what was going to go into that row so we'd know what we were growing there. I had fun doing that. Daddy held the stick while I pounded the stick into the ground.
Then Dad grabbed the full packets of seeds and put them in his pockets, he started to walk down the rows, but he was trailing the seeds behind him!!! Oh NO! We can't have that! We'll LOOSE THEM ALL!!
Down the squash row, down the onion rows, down the radish rows, carrots and cucumber rows, we get half way down the tomato rows and I burst into tears. Daddy turned around and said "Darling! What's wrong!"
He sees me with my hands full of seeds and I see his eyes about pop out of his head, but his voice stays calm. I cry and cry "I tried to save all your seeds, but my hands are too small!"
My Daddy picked me up and hugged me and decided to explain gardening to me, start to finish.
We took 3 rows, and planted the mishmash of seeds to see what would happen. We called it 'mixed vegetables'. Then, we started over with re - planting the other rows.
Very few of the veggies in the mixed vegetables grew, except the radishes. That became my favorite in the garden. From then on, every year, the radishes were my responsibility. Start to finish. No one was allowed to harvest them but me. It's funny now, but Mom and Dad would serve radishes at the table on a day that I hadn't 'given my permission' and they'd tell me that they'd gone to the store and I'd actually buy that story ! (the things parents will tell kids to keep their smiles on their faces!)
I miss Daddy. I know why I can understand God's love for us though. Daddy did such a thorough job of showing me ... Sometimes God goes in front of us, having planned it all out carefully, and all we have to do is follow in his footsteps, but we're afraid he's not doing it right, that he's dropping something. So we have to help him. So we pick up the seeds he's sowing. We keep picking them up until we're so desperate and we're exhausted we have no choice but to cry out "Abba!My hands are too small!"
And Abba Father will pick us up, hold us in his arms. Then he'll take us, help us replant those mishmash seeds to watch it grow. Then we can see what crop shows up. Somehow, with childlike wonder, we will latch onto that harvest with a passion that will carry us through. It might even become something that is precious to us forever. I wrote a poem a long time ago about this, but blogger is being stubborn today and won't let me post it in format. So, if you'll go back to this post from last Father's Day, you can read the poem.
My Dad's Shadow
My dad had a shadow,
It followed him all year long,
During the winter, it would go behind,
And throw snow at his back,
During the spring, it would follow him,
Out to the garden to pick up the seeds,
He 'accidently' dropped.
In summertime it would follow him to work,
And make more messes.
In the fall it would go behind,
Jumping in the piles of leaves he had raked.
The one spring he turned around
No shadow could be found,
Only I was standing there,
With a grin on my face and some seeds,
in my hand,
For you see ... the shadow that my dad had,
Was not a shadow at all,
IT WAS ME!
© Peggikaye Eagler
Woodpeckers follow the link.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Yesterday at church they introduced a new song. I wonder what the reaction to it was. I know what the reaction in the worship team was when it was first sang ... we had a 50/50 reaction to one line. Half of us REALLY loved it. Half REALLY disliked it. I shared what it meant to me ... ended the discussion all together. But, if half the worship team had such a strong reaction to that one phrase ..what was the reaction to the congregation??? I'm going to just put in part of the song ...
"You reign victorious, High and lifted up, Jesus, Son of God, The Darling of Heaven, Crucified, Worthy is the Lamb"
The Darling of Heaven ...
Never heard Christ described that way and the reaction was strong and immediate.
For me ... it brought immediately to mind my beloved step father who died when I was 14. His encouragement when my heart was breaking. His deep love for me. His ability to reach my heart when no one else could. His looking me in the eye when the school bully had shattered my heart ...yet again. His taking me in his arms and loving me when a family member had rejected me ...yet again. His putting me in a place of honor, and showing me that he thought I was precious.
When my heart was shattered and he knew that only he could fix it, he'd start the conversation with "Darling, you know how much I love you" or "Darling, I'm sorry they hurt you" "Darling, I love you so much"
Darling ... I was my Daddy's Darling ... it was a priviledge place to be. A place of honor. None of my friends, as much as he liked my friends, could take that place. None of my cousins, as much as he loved my cousins, could take that place. When my heart was breaking, not even one of my sisters, could take that place. At that moment in time, I was DARLING ..the focus of my Father's world.
The Darling of Heaven Crucified.
The Heavenly Father's Darling son ... the son ... in a place of honor, a son so very precious, that all the hope of the world was put in him. A son, who the Father loved so much!
When I think of Christ as the Father's DARLING SON crucified ... and in think of what it meant to be my Daddy's Darling ...
How incredible ... The Darling of Heaven Crucified ...
How much more precious did that make that sacrifice ? God was willing to let his own son, become flesh, and bear pain, and experience things that he really had no real need to experience ...so that I, Peggikaye Eagler, could come into HIS presence, and have Fellowship with him.
The Darling of Heaven ...
How precious, how incredible.
Letter to Daddy, 2006
Happy Birthday Daddy, you are forever missed.