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My Dad and My Son: Honoring Father’s Day 2021

Updated: Jul 12, 2021

Teresa D. Goins

Daddy was so proud when my son was born. Having been surrounded by all “girls” for so many years – three daughters and my mother – he was overjoyed for another male in the

family. As Geoffrey grew, he and Daddy became inseparable. Everything Daddy did, Geoffrey did behind him. My son is now 37 years old, and it’s been twenty years since Daddy left us for heaven, but I can still see the two of them (Geoffrey, a toddler) cranking homemade ice cream together in the yard beside my parents’ house. Today, the resemblance is uncanny. At times, I feel like my Daddy is still here, in many of my son’s mannerisms. Daddy would be so proud to see who Geoffrey has become.

Daddy was a tall six-foot man. By age 16, my son had exceeded his height by two or three inches. Daddy believed Geoffrey took after his dad and granddad (my paternal granddad and great-granddad), who had unusually wide finger nails. Daddy’s hands were big, but Geoffrey’s are bigger. There are many fun memories, like the time Daddy carried two-year-old Geoffrey to the barn and set him on the seat of his tractor. Watching the birds in the sky (confident that my son would answer correctly), Daddy asked him, “Who made the birds?” and Geoffrey said, “My Momma!”

Daddy was a matter-of-fact, practical man, who worked very hard. We lived in the country, and his lawn around the house (which measured probably an acre) was his pride and joy. When Geoffrey was a baby, the best way to put him down for a nap was for Daddy to hold him in his lap on his big blue riding lawn mower. It took only one trip down the long side-garden of the yard for the vibration of the mower to jiggle Geoffrey to sleep. My mom would be waiting with open arms, at the row’s end, to carry him back into the house. Daddy eventually taught Geoffrey to mow, with his old push mower, but he always sat in the yard watching, to make sure Geoffrey cut every blade! One day, when my son was about 13, Daddy noticed that at every turn in the yard, Geoffrey had to reach to his waist and pull up his jeans. When the yard was finished, Daddy (who lived during the Great Depression and didn’t understand current teenage fashion trends) told Geoffrey, “When I was your age, I would’ve given anything for a nice pair of jeans! You have plenty, but they all have holes and are so saggy you can barely keep them on!”

I can hear Daddy laughing when, at age five, my son won “Little Mr. Henry County” in our county fair (all the while, Geoffrey paying no attention to the contest but to the monster trucks in the mud down the way). Daddy was so pleased when at age 10 Geoffrey made it to the finish line in a 5K run for charity on his little red-and-yellow bike. I remember Geoffrey sitting between Daddy’s legs – with sunglasses and a smile that were way too big for his face – steering Daddy’s boat through the water at the lake. And I can still see the pride on Daddy’s face when his handsome, strapping-young grandson walked in his front door in a tuxedo, the night of his senior prom.

Daddy and Geoffrey had a lot of fun together, but through the years, my dad also made sure to instill in his grandson godly values. He taught Geoffrey to be honest, to work hard, and to always make family first. One hot summer day, a couple of years before Daddy died at age 83, we walked him to the end of the sidewalk that faces the barn lot, under the shade tree, so he could watch Geoffrey mow his yard. Instead of a chair, Daddy opted for the sidewalk step. However, when the yard was finished, he couldn’t get up. We tried everything, but nothing worked. Finally, Geoffrey bent down and picked Daddy up like a baby, head and shoulders draped over one arm, and Daddy’s dangly legs over the other. I couldn’t help but think how ironic it was. Roles reversed, now, my son was carrying my dad! Daddy commented, “I never thought I’d see the day that I couldn’t walk with my own two feet, but I am thankful that my grandson could do it for me.” These are the memories I will cherish on this Father’s Day 2021.

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