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Gig Line: Fathers, Dads and Daddies

If you look the term “father” up on the internet, it will show it as a noun and a man in relation to his child or children and often as a title or form of address such as in priest, pastor or parson. Sometimes a man feels that impregnating a woman makes him a father, but what makes a “father” a “dad” or a “daddy”?

First, I would say the love in his heart for a little being that he and his/her mother created. A daddy or dad could be the natural DNA father but he could also be a very loving step dad, adopted dad or father-in-law . . . a man who loves that little baby from the minute a confirmation of its existence of life in the womb begins. He is a man that takes pride in the fact he will have a little life that will look up to him, learn from him, be loved by him, be shown what love is, who will work and work hard in order to keep his family fed, clothed and housed. Someone who will keep his children safe and warm, cheer them on at games and school events. A dad that will stand and cheer and clap and grin from ear to ear in appreciation for his son or daughter taking the high road in life, striving to be a good student, a good citizen respectful of the neighbors and the community in which he lives; will teach his children to have faith, to believe in something greater that our imagination can picture, to believe that there is always hope and that working together will create a better tomorrow.

A good father will take the time to inspire this son or daughter to hold dear the principals of a healthy society where we accept there are endless differences among all of us that can either unite us and make us stronger or divide us, split us apart and cause us to fail.

My father was, without a doubt, my Daddy. He was a big strong man who always made me feel safe, he treated me with respect even as a little girl. He taught me to respect my elders, to thank God for the food we ate, to care about old people and people with physical limitations, to never sass him or my mother. Having been through the Great Depression, he taught me to appreciate what we had, not to complain or be a whiny hiney. He loved Gunsmoke; watching it was his favorite Saturday night ritual growing up. He loved his fried fish and cornbread. He loved for me to sit on his knee and sing, “Oh! My Papa” Eddie Fisher 1954 . . . remember that enduring tribute? Daddy would come home from his duty at the U. S. Coast Guard base and I’d run as fast as I could to greet him when he’s scoop me up in his arms, then sit me on his knee and I’d bellow out the tune he loved so much. Daddy was strict, sometimes stern but never mean; though I got a few spankings in my day, he never ever hurt me and, if anything, my hurt was knowing I had disappointed him or let him down in some way.

He expected me to be a good girl growing up and when he came to see my relationship with my Billy unfold, he was thrilled. He saw in Billy what every good daddy wants . . . a good man who would love, respect and honor his daughter. From our wedding in 1968 until Daddy passed in 1987, there were never cross words between them, they did things together and oftentimes after Billy had driven Daddy to Norfolk, Va. to buy things he needed for his charter boat, Billy would tell me that Daddy would tell him the same stories over and over, but Billy went along with it because he loved him too. When the day came that Billy and I had our first precious baby, son Bill, then three years later another beautiful baby daughter Bonnie, he could not have been happier. He was smitten each time, so proud to be a father and already immersed in being a “Daddy.” And from the very beginning, he was a second Daddy to every friend our children brought to the house. The kids all loved his dry sense of humor, his surprising strength, the fact he could drive a golf ball so well or hit and chase a tennis ball like a professional all over the court was amazing. He was someone our children’s  friends looked forward to seeing or shooting a game of pool with. He was a Daddy through and through; they respected him and admired him. Our foster son was crazy about him, not having had the joy of a loving father image in his life until “Mr. Billy.” He set the example of what a good father and dad should be in our son and his daughter was his “Baby Girl.”

Bill, who is now 50, has followed in his Daddy’s footsteps, loving his son and daughters so much, wanting nothing but the best for them, praying for them, spending every minute he can when he’s not working, fishing, hunting, going places together and a lot of just talking and mostly listening to their hopes, dreams and outlook on their future. Like our children, his children love their dad so much and again, so do their friends as he loves them too.

And for a “second son” or son-in-law, we have been blessed. He is a sweetheart and he could not love my grandson more if he was his biological father. He has been there for him, supporting him at his games, cheering him from the sidelines during football season; encouraging him to be the best he can be in his career of automobile technologies and repair – the love he has for my grandson is so apparent whenever you’re around the two. His pride, his joy when he’s in the same room is crystal clear and his full support of my grandson’s goals is obvious. While his natural dad is in Heaven, his dad is Woody Rowe and everything a good daddy should be and I embrace his loving guidance and fatherhood exemplified to my grandson over and over again. The way Woody loves my daughter and those of us she loves makes me especially happy and proud.

Our Father in Heaven is the beginning of it all. He and He alone brought our family together to be; through good times and bad; through hardships and the overcoming of them, God is our Father who loves us more than we can even comprehend and I can tell you as a woman of faith, His fathering has always been a big step ahead of what comes into our lives. He always has a plan, He never falls short and He’s always ready to pick us up, forgive our transgressions and send Heavenly comfort when we need it the most. We are His children and I cannot imagine a life without Him in it.

My Daddy Capt. Marvin F. Mann was my hero; my husband William S. “Billy” S. Brown Jr., a U. S. Army/Vietnam veteran who taught me so many things including to love our country more every day, our U. S. flag and to never take our freedoms for granted; our son William S. “Bill” Brown III must make his Daddy smile in Heaven as a respected commercial fisherman who loves his profession and who works on all counterparts of his boat primarily by himself having learned so much through the years; and Bonnie? Billy was her inspiration to become a Dare County E.M.T. now reaching for a higher plain in her E.M.S. career. Both have so much of their Daddy in them; he left his profound mark in this world through our children and grandchildren. Thank you, God. I am grateful and so blessed.

Fatherhood is tough. It’s a huge role to play and it takes a willingness to allow love into your heart and your world; to forgive those who have hurt you, no matter how they hurt you or why.  For the men in this world who have yet to share a baby with someone special, there are plenty of children already here who lost, never had, or need a good father figure to inspire and love them. Be a mentor, set an example of courage; of a giving heart and a stand for American values and traditions, faith being one of them and at the top of the list.

Fathers, dads, daddies are precious souls that we look up to and love so dearly. God bless all who have had wonderful fathers to love them and if they are in Heaven like my Daddy and my sweetie pie Billy, cherish those memories, visit them often and thank God for them for they are gems in a keepsake box.

Until next time, Happy Father’s Day . . . be happy, be safe and be proud. As long as we live, we have a chance to tell Dads close to us, (and sometimes far away or in Heaven) just how much we love them, miss them and are thankful they were our father. If you know a veteran who could use some help, please call or email me: 252-202-2058 or giglineheroes@aol.com  I love you all and thank you for reading Gig Line! Stay tuned!

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