Daddy’s Darlings, Southern Sweethearts
Bill Prince. January 29, 2013 © All rights Reserved
A few things never change in this modern world. One is the number of unwanted solicitation phone calls that come in and at the worst times possible. Another is the special, sweetest form of love that is shared by a southern dad and his daughters. Now the line from the song Delta Dawn comes to mind, “She’s forty one and her daddy still calls her Baby.” How did all these thoughts start crowding my mind? It was six o’clock AM eastern daylight time in Georgia when the phone rang and woke me to the discovery that some sales soliciting computer had lost its clocking ability and thought it was PM maybe, who knows why the computer burped out that call, but for some reason it woke me before I was ready to be awakened.
What was worse was that it woke Jo as well. We probably would have made a fast recovery and would have been shaking the floor joists with our snoring again in five minutes but for what she said, “Oh, why did I have to wake up? Why did I have to wake up? I was dreaming about my daddy and we were having such a good time. It seemed so real just like we were together again.” Then Jo sobbed a few sobs at the memory of her deceased dad, a man who had left home with a pregnant wife to fight Germans and walked all the way from the English Channel to Berlin in mud so he could help preserve our freedom. When I think of her dad I think of a man who didn’t see his first born till he was a several years old. When she thinks of him, she thinks of the love they shared and their “special” relationship.
I had not been dating her long when she told me a secret, her daddy liked her, no, loved her, more than the other three children. She was special to him. I began to observe and sure enough I think she was one up at least on the rest of them. She told me that once when they were riding in the car, just the two of them, and she told him she loved him so, he said, “Well, I guess you could say we have our own little mutual admiration society.” She always would get a little mushy when talking about her daddy. I always have had his example in mind when I have tried my best to love and cherish her and provide her for the years we have had together.
Now back to the dream. She said, “We were at a dinner at the church. You know daddy loved church socials and good food. He was going through the line with that smile only he had, picking up a dab of this and a dab of that and still his plate was getting overloaded. He looked and me and winked, acknowledging that special connection that had our two hearts plugged together. We were just going to sit together so we could eat and talk when that phone woke me up. Oh! Why did I have to wake up? It seemed so real, just like we were there together again”
She wept a little more and I decided to talk to her some about her daddy and my memories of him and things he told me like, that he felt comfortable with the status of his daughter in our marriage because she was “well cared for” as he put it. He had a way of making me feel good about being his son-in-law. His boys were having trouble with their first marriages at the time and he shared his concern over his boys. I am thankful that Jo and I have made it through and are committed till death do us part. Sadly, she is his only child that can still say that. Not to criticize the others but I think her dad had something when he said she was special.
A southern gentleman loves his daughters in a way that can be summed up by just saying when he thinks of them, they are his babies, no matter how old they are.
I went to make the coffee and read my Bible and Holy Cow! A scripture jumped off the page at me so bright and shiny, blindingly brilliant, that I couldn’t ignore it. I got up immediately and made the following post which included the verse on face book which drew dozens of likes and comments.
Psalms 144:12:…that our daughters may be...polished after the similitudes of a palace.
“My daughters have had some rough edges, like a field stone, but now polished by prayers of parents and the mercy of God they are models of Godly women, cornerstones of their communities. Thank you Lord! Bless my girls today; Cheryl, Jan & Leah, and their daughters, Haylee, Chandler, Caroline and Katherine.”
It was a joy for me to post that for the world to see. The word similitudes is rendered from a Hebrew word meaning “model” and the word palace there can indicate a “cornerstone” or the “best part of a building”. From where I sit, that’s a good description of my view of my girls. I know nobody is perfect and at sometimes I have been a perfectly bad dad, as they have been fieldstones; but as Dr. Williams said, ”We all have our warts.” The love for my girls overwhelmed me.
You see, what got me was that I had developed this immediate and deeply felt desire to be thought of by my daughters as Jo thought of her dad. The experiences of that morning caused by that untimely phone ringing had led me to an emotional upheaval that made me realize how great my girls are, what they have overcome, and how “special” they are to me even though grown and gone away they are still daddy’s darlings and southern sweethearts. I made sure they saw my facebook post and hoped they understood that their daddy was calling them “special’ and that they were partners in a “private little mutual admiration society” between just me & them, individually.
I know that Jo’s relationship with her deceased dad was so special that I will never be able to completely fill his shoes, but I do hope that I can equal it with my own little girls, daddy’s darlings, southern sweethearts.