by Ronald H. Matthews

What is Your Life's Story?
Things I Learned from My Daddy
Rev. Ronald H. Matthews
Ephesians 1:3-14
January 10, 1999

Now that he is gone, I understand the grief of losing a parent. Alone with all the normal emotions comes a flood of memories--mostly good ones--that can bring both a smile and a tear. I have been remembering all the things my father taught me, things I had taken for granted.

From my daddy I learned: how to milk a cow, grow tobacco, corn and hay and some really fine vegetables, carve a peach seed monkey, make a flip (slingshot), hunt Ginseng and mountain tea and build a bluebird house. Sometime about 1960, he read an article in The Reader's Digest about the decline of the Eastern Bluebird, because of a lack of natural nesting sites. Dad took that cause on and made hundreds of those birdhouses and gave away every one of them. An uncle once advised him he could make some money off his handicrafts, but dad scoffed at the idea. He did it for the joy of giving and his love of Bluebirds.

I learned to drive sitting on my daddy's lap. That was in a 1954 Chevrolet pickup with a straight shift. In later years, when Pat and I would take my parents to the Cracker Barrel in Newport for dinner, dad would always remind me, "That's the first traffic light you ever drove through!" When you traveled with my parents, it always included a review of "who lived where and when." At the time, I would get weary of listening to the same old stories. I knew what was coming around every bend in the road. Now, I wish I had recorded one of those trips, so I could listen again.

One of my most treasured memories is standing beside my daddy in the little one room country church where I grew up. Back where I come from, there were frequent revivals and it was somewhere in that place that I began to sense my personal spirituality. After the altar calls, the preacher would usually invite all those who desired to come forward and join in testimony and prayer. My mother ...

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