Thursday, June 13, 2013


Father’s Day, 2013 is this Sunday, June 16.  In honor of my father, my wife’s father,  and all the fathers in our extended Kilgore family,  I write this blog as a tribute. 

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Father knows best”? That was the title of a family- oriented television show in the 1950‘s, which featured an ideal family, as television viewed an ideal family in those days.  I’ve since recognized there really are no ideal families, but I am very fortunate to have had a father who was the head of his household.  “Father knows best”  was certainly the theme in the Cecil Kilgore home.   Strange as it may seem, as I grew older, I realized the truth in that title.  As my father grew older, he also grew wiser and smarter.   And now since his death, I think of some things my dad did that I didn’t quite understand at the time, but since, those very things have proven to be prudent.  I can hear his voice in my head as he continues to instruct, because my father knew best.  In my younger years, Daddy was the authoritarian and the provider.  In my mature years, he was my friend and sage.  My wife, Pat, had a father who was a giant of a man physically.  He was as gentle as he was big. He was always lovingly kind and humble.  He was a good father, and Pat misses him to this day, although it has been almost 38 years since his passing.  He was a good man.

Through my own experiences of being both a father with two children and being a child of a special father, I am aware that at a young age, many times we desire a different dad--a more fun dad--a dad who takes you fishing, teaches you how to build things, and teaches you how to hit a baseball or how to shoot a basketball. And for those dads who really do those things, I commend you for sharing yourselves in that way.  My father was not that kind of father, nor was I that kind of father for my children. Instead, my father taught me how to work, how to give your all, and how to be the best at what you do.  By example, by father taught me loyalty, ethics, and love of God and country, and not necessarily in that order.  

My wife’s brother, Mac Colvin, shared with me recently a memory he had of my daddy which emphasizes the kind of man he was.  

“Johnny, thinking of your dad, one memory stands out for me.  Mike (this is my middle brother) was playing high school football and we were visiting your family and we all piled into a car and headed to the high school for the game.  While traveling there, we got behind a man who tossed a lit cigarette out of the window and your dad pulled him over and gave him down the road.  I always remember that and think of what a dedicated man he was.”  

To the general reader, I should note that Daddy was a Forest Ranger,  and he knew what a  lit cigarette thrown from a car was capable of doing-- starting a wild fire.  Legally, he had the authority to stop anyone who did not obey the law.  But it is rare that someone would stop a car for any purpose, and I can understand how Mac was impressed by my Daddy's actions.

As a young tot, I did not appreciate, nor understand, the role of being a father.  When I became a father, that role was assumed with joy and anticipation.  My father was my  role model in both what to do, and what not to do.   To touch, hug, kiss, and hold were important actions for me to give my children.  To read to my children even before they could walk was very important.  There were books purchased to expose my children to the world of reading and learning.  As they grew older, it was natural to expose them to  music, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, basketball, and drama. I could not do all those things myself, but I could make certain that my children had the opportunity to experience them.   During the years of growing up under my roof, my children were exposed to a faith -based life and a personal relationship with God and His son, Jesus.  We went to church every Sunday, attended Sunday School faithfully, and enjoyed all the activities that church affords. Though I may not have been the father my children wanted at times, my love for them and my responsibility for them was a God-given special role that I cherish to this day.   

Among the many Father’s Day presents I gave my daddy through the years, there is one that serves as a reminder of the special relationship of a father and child.  It is a plaque that says, “A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you may grow.”  I purchased that gift not just for what it said, but also for the picture--a tall tree scene.  
Our family always had a life that centered around trees because Daddy’s work as Forest Ranger of Winston County, Alabama involved the care of forests and the planting of trees.  There is nothing as lovely and strong and enduring as a tree, unless it is the life of a father and his love for his children. 

Happy Father’s Day!


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