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A Memory of Father

Daddy was special - hard working, honest, church-going, funny. He had a deep bass singing voice that thrilled me in church, and delighted me when he sang all manner of funny and crazy songs at home: Bullfrog Went a Courtin', Old Grogan's Goat, Beautiful K-a-a-ty, I'll Dance With the Dolly With a Hole in Her Stocking.

Nor can I forget how he nipped my life of crime in the bud. I remember well the day. Late in the afternoon, daddy sent me into the grocery store to pick up a loaf of bread. Once inside my eyes fastened intently upon a barrel - no ordinary, run-of-the- mill barrel, mind you, but a whole barrel brimming over with candy. In the evening sun those beautiful cellophane wrappers took on as many shades as Joseph's coat. Now, admittedly, I didn't know much about the Devil, but when he told me to take some candy, I did.

How was I to know that my father was sitting in the car watching me through the plate-glass window of the store? My first crime had been committed, and it was followed quickly by conviction, confession, and correction.

You have heard of how one sin leads to another. I was a thief, and when my father asked me what was in my pocket I became a liar. “Nothing,” was the answer I gave. But Dad’s searching hand quickly convicted me of wrongdoing.

What followed is hard to forget. Back into the store I went with orders to tell the checker I had stolen the candy. Through humiliation and tears I made my confession. But I knew there was more to come. Correction would surely follow confession. The drive home was about ten blocks, but it took hours to get there. Finally arriving, dad lead me to the back yard where man-sized sunflowers were growing. Quickly he uprooted a few well-chosen stalks and began to apply them unsparingly to the legs of one thief attired in short pants.

To this day I have a strong aversion to sunflowers, short pants, and stealing.

Did I grow up to hate my father because he disciplined me? Not on your life! You see, I had a daddy who loved me!

(Heb. 12:7) ... what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

(Prov. 13:24) He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

- John Gipson


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