Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!



I have a very special person in my life. His name is James Lawrence Barnett, I call him Daddy.


From the time I first remember, I was so proud of my Daddy. He was and still is such a gentle man and he has always cared deeply for his family. Mother, Brother and myself were always his first priority.


When Brother and I were young children, we always spent Saturday morning with Daddy. Mom worked at the post office and rarely got a Saturday off. We would get up and have breakfast, make our beds, straighten the house and Daddy would give us our allowance. Then we would head to Elmore's where we would get to shop as long as it took. Daddy never rushed us, he was always patient and he let us purchase what we wanted with our money.


We always took a two week vacation in the summer. Usually we would spend a week at the beach, then go through Atlanta and enjoy Six Flags and then on to Gatlinburg. We would stop at all of the attractions along the way, Ruby Falls, The Lost Sea, etc...The Davis family usually went with us. Daddy would not allow bumper stickers on his car, so we never got to get the "Six Flags" or "See Rock City" or "Ruby Falls" stickers so everyone would know where we had been. The Davis' on the otherhand, always got the cool stickers. (This is funny looking back but it was a big deal to us and an equally big deal for Daddy) So many great memories on these vacations but I will not bore you with these. :)


My childhood was very happy. My parents didn't argue, they loved each other and us. We laughed and enjoyed each other every single day. We ate supper together at night, we said the blessing before we ate and on weekends we would have family nights. Those usually consisted of supper at a restaurant and then a fun activity such as bowling, roller skating, movies or whatever we chose to do.


Daddy was always involved in our lives. Little League Baseball, Pee Wee Football, President of the Quarterback Club, anywhere he was needed he was there and a hard worker. He helped me sale Girl Scout Cookies and I always sold a truck load. He said, "I love you" each and every day.


Daddy was a hunter but he NEVER went into the woods on Christmas Eve, we were so afraid he would shoot Rudolph. Once again, Mom worked on Christmas Eve but Daddy would take us and go visit folks and drop off little gifts until we would meet up with Mom to start the holiday festivities.


He served in the National Guard for 35 years and every summer he would have to leave us for two whole weeks. On the morning he would leave, Mother would get me and Brother up early, she would play the piano and we would sing sweet love songs to Daddy while he was getting things ready for the journey. We would sing through the tears, quite an ordeal. We would be so excited when he would call home and Mother would tell us not to cry on the phone. Of course, I always cried. Then finally after a long two weeks we would get ready for his arrival back home. He always brought great gifts and it was like Christmas in summertime. I still have a few of those items in my possession. Most of all we were just so glad to have him back home.


On my wedding day, Mother, Daddy, Brother and I all spent the entire day together. I will never forget that evening when we were standing at the back of the church, before they opened the door he said "It's not too late if you are not sure?" I said, "I'm sure" he said "then lets go and gave me that wink that always melts my heart.


The day I gave birth to Ashlee. Because there were so many people in our families and friends, they held me in recovery until time for visiting hours. She was born at 5:24 pm and visiting hours was not until 7 pm Things were very different then. When Ashlee arrived I got to see her for just a few minutes, they then gave her to Mick and he took her to the nursery for her bath. He got to tell everyone it was a girl and they all got to go watch through the glass. Not Daddy...he stood by those doors until they finally pushed me through. He said "Hey Babe" took my hand and stayed with me until they got me settled in my room. Then, he went to see Ashlee.


All of my life he made me feel like I was the most important thing to him. I knew he loved Mother and Brother, but I was his girl. I was in my thirties and Daddy had some heart problems. He called me and in a panic I said, "I am on the way Daddy." He asked me to go work at Mom's post office so she could go with him??? (I worked at the post office then too) WHAT??? Daddy, must be in bad shape cause I think he said for me to go work for Mom so she could come to him. It was a knife to the heart. I always thought Daddy would be fine as long as he had me, wrong!!! :~) Time to grow up and be a big girl but how many get to their thirties thinking they are the princess and the queen?!


Daddy and I always spent special time with each other. I loved our fishing weekends just the two of us at the river. You see we are just alike, really the good and the bad! Our best fishing time was in the afternoon and evenings. We would fish those river-banks and talk about everything under the sun and moon. He would make homemade biscuits, bacon, sausage and eggs for breakfast and wake me up in time to get up, wash my hands and sit down to a breakfast feast. For supper, he would fire up the grill and we would have the best grilled steak you can imagine with all the trimmings. I am not really a fisherman so I got hung up a lot, he never cared how many times he had to cut the line or even when I lost his best lure. You see the fishing wasn't that important, it was the time we were together that mattered. He even let me drive the boat just like when I was a kid. I could go on and on but enough for now.


Lawrence Barnett is my hero and I feel so blessed to be one of two who call him Daddy. I am thankful for him and so happy that we will start Father's Day 2011 with church, then out for lunch to celebrate the most wonderful man I know. I love you Daddy.

My name is Valerie Springer nmls 198479, Home Mortgage Expert and writer for Ask Val in Birmingham, Alabama. You may contact me by email at valerie.springer@benchmark.us or call 205-314-4775.