At my church’s annual Father-Daughter Banquet, the senior girls get the opportunity to give a tribute to their dad. I wanted to share mine with you.
I’ve been looking forward to this moment for the last year, ever since I attended my first Father-Daughter Banquet in 2015. When I realized that all the senior girls got to give tributes to their dads, I knew that my turn was coming up fast. I started planning right away. For some reason, I kept coming back to two of my dad’s catch-phrases. “He made mine teeth!” and “Always… be careful.” It was only a few weeks ago that I figured out what I wanted to do with my speech. My family can find a way to quote a line or a song with just about anything you say, and we do, all the time. So what better way to tell my dad, and you, what I love best about him than through six of his most oft-used quotes.
It was only a few weeks ago that I figured out what I wanted to do with my speech. My family can find a way to quote a line or a song with just about anything you say, and we do, all the time. So what better way to tell my dad, and you, what I love best about him than through six of his most oft-used quotes.
1. Calvinist Tonto
My dad is the only member of our family on what he refers to as “The Twitters”. Although I can’t be sure of who all he follows, I’m going to make an educated guess and say that they fall into two categories: Alabama football players/coaches/writers/etc., and Calvinists. He came up with this twitter handle on the way home from church one afternoon as we were discussing the Lone Ranger’s companion.
Daddy eventually said “Him plenty dead in his sins, Kimosabe. Him cannot save himself.” Roughly five seconds later, Calvinist Tonto was born. My dad’s passion for God’s Word, studying theology, and leading our family in nightly devotions are some of the main reasons he is the perfect father. Well, let me amend that, since I’m pretty sure I can guess what’s going through his head right now- the perfect earthy father.
Daddy, your devotion to making sure our whole family is regularly in the word, memorizing scripture, and discussing what we’ve read, isn’t something I’ve always appreciated enough. But after seeing the difference in my life when I’m not regularly reading the Bible, I can’t thank you enough for making sure that we do this.
2. Steve Austin, A Man Barely Alive
I was going to attempt the bionic sound from that classic 70’s TV show, The Six Million Dollar Man, but I decided that it would be a miserable fail. My siblings and I had heard Daddy reference this show all our lives. We didn’t really get what it was, but we would smile and go along with it like all children do.
Last summer all of that changed. Somehow, Daddy decided it was time to start purchasing all five seasons of The Six Million Dollar Man. The rest of the family was soon in love with Steve Austin, a man barely alive, and his boss-man, Oscar Goldman.
My family has not had cable or a satellite since I was in second grade. We’ve rented movies and done Netflix, but a long time ago my dad realized that the best way to keep not only us kids but also himself and my mom protected from temptation or negative influences in television was to simply get rid of the vehicle for it! Because of this, and because of the views that Daddy has been convicted to hold by the Lord, I’ve seen more pre 1980’s shows than I have modern ones. I can quote you lines from Perry Mason, The Waltons, MacGyver, Space Ghost, The Superfriends, and of course, The Six Million Dollar Man.
My dad is very careful about what our family watches, and I am so grateful. As my brother and I have gotten older, he’s also started to give us more leeway, not necessarily saying ‘no’ immediately, but encouraging us to read reviews from trusted sources, pray about the movie or show we want to watch, and to ask good questions. He is so good at making sure that my sisters, brother, and I aren’t just blindly obeying, but learning to be discerning for ourselves and read what God says about what we take in.
3. It’s locked! I need a key…
When I was eight years old, Daddy had started having to travel fairly often for work. Each time he came home, he would bring us a little treat. I feel bad, because I don’t remember any of them, save one. I remember that trip’s treat vividly.
We all came dashing out of the house as Daddy pulled into the driveway and got out of his truck. All four of us were jumping on him and pulling him this way and that and trying to tell him about a week’s worth of activates in about two seconds. When we finally calmed down, Daddy handed out that trip’s surprise. I think he saved mine for last. He handed me a CD case. There was a gray tower on a purple background and the title, Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower.
I cannot tell you how much that computer game, and the thirty-one games that followed it, has affected my life. Daddy and I popped that sucker into the computer and spend most evenings for weeks, thirty minutes at a time, meeting immortal characters like Professor Hotchkiss and Dexter, sneaking around an ancient French castle, and learning about Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution. It shouldn’t surprise you to hear me say that Daddy and I (and now the rest of the family) have spent the last ten years waiting expectantly for new games to come out.
For many years, my Christmas list consisted of mainly Nancy Drew Games and books. For me, that’s what I think of when people ask me what I do with my dad. We play Nancy Drew games. We poke around, yell at the characters, make guesses as to the culprit, and solve puzzles. Well, he solves the puzzles. I get tired of trying after about six seconds. He and I almost can’t have a conversation anymore without quoting a game.
4. Beeps! Ooof!
If you’ve been around me and my dad for any length of time, you’ve most likely seen one of us go up to the other, give a poke in the stomach, and yell “beeps!” or “ooof”! I can’t even remember when this started, but Daddy has something like it with each child. It’s our special code that we use instead of saying “are you ok?” It’s hello and goodbye, it’s ‘nice one!’ or, ‘it’s all okay.’ It’s our way of telling each other ‘I love you’.
5. He made mine teeth!
Honestly, I don’t know what this means or where it comes from. If any of you recognize it, please let me know!
*update* After I gave this speech my dad showed me the scene in a Pink Panther movie where this quote comes from.
I’ve been trying to get this phrase’s origins out of my dad for months, but he’s pretty good at being unmovable. This quote is just one of many that I could have chosen to introduce the one of the things I love most about my dad and my family: our humor.
We are word people, mostly because of my dad. When my grandparents lived in Alabama, we visited them twice a year. The whole family would gather together for either the Fourth of July and the Iron Bowl- I mean, Thanksgiving. I have memories of running a post-it note and a pen back and forth between my dad and his mom as they played some crazy-made-up word game that only they could understand. My dad is a pun-master and has passed that trait on to Philip.
Daddy is always ready with a quip or a joke or a word-play to make even the most serious of conversations just a little lighter. He’s got the perfect balance of knowing when to keep a joke going, when to let it die (sometimes because I killed it with “okay, this conversation has gone way too far”…), and when to just be quiet. He keeps us laughing and aching all the time.
6. Always… be careful.
As far back as I can remember, this was my dad’s advice. Whenever we went on a trip, be it to the park or simply a bike ride, Daddy was always there to say “always…” and let us finish. We learned to watch for cars, weird people, and strange dogs with this slogan in mind.
My dad is always watching out for us, always. He watches out for our physical safety, making sure that Philip and I know to adjust the mirrors and seat before we start driving. When a loose dog came into our yard and started jumping on my brother when he was about five years old, Daddy grabbed that sucker by the front legs and pushed it out of the yard. When I thought there was a helicopter landing in our yard at age eight, Daddy came and checked it out.
He was willing to wear a pink tie to please my mom (and, he thought, me) when I went to prom a few years ago. He always wants me to be careful but has never stopped me from doing something hard or scary.
He is just the right mix of protective and encouraging. He has always believed in my abilities, even when I don’t. He supports me when I’m making a tough decision and gives me advice straight from the Bible.
I have never met another father who has made me think, “Gee, I wish he was my dad”, and I know that I never will. There are so many things I admire about you. I’m not embarrassed when you cheer and yell for Philip. It lets me know that I’m not weird for doing the exact same thing. And besides, I think people can hear you a lot better than they can hear me.
I know that if and when I get married you’ll give my boyfriend a hard time, but also give him good advice and take him seriously when he talks. I know that I’ll always be able to count on you for a hot dog or chicken patty. I know, for sure, that I can’t imagine life without you.
I know that God gives good gifts to His children, because He gave me you.