My First Valentine

Long, long ago, in a state far away, there was a small, screaming infant being baptized by her father, a pastor, on the Sunday that fell on this very date, his birthday. I can only assume that my ornery howling was not the most perfect birthday present he’d ever had, but since Dad didn’t toss me in the dustbin either on the occasion or shortly thereafter is testament to a tiny fraction of the loving kindness he showed me then and continued to shower upon me, no matter how fractious I might have been at times, throughout the following years. That sort of tolerance alone is a good reason I’ve been very fond of the fella from the start. I’d say it’s also a good indicator that Dad always tended to have an excellent sense of humor about the silliness of real life.digital illustrationCommemorating that day is likely a good enough sampling all on its own of the man-of-many-parts that is my father, but it’s far from all. His long career as a Lutheran pastor and then bishop was complemented by plenty of stellar adventures as a leader, chairman and member of innumerable committees and boards from university to seminary to hospital and community. He traveled to and worked in dangerous and war-torn places like Honduras and El Salvador and early-1970s Chicago but still managed to come back regularly and be Dad at home to four daughters and help Mom keep the home fires burning while donning his ecumenical-superdude cape for quick service in his myriad day jobs.digital illustrationBetween his understandable popularity with many folk—even, I daresay, thanks to his unpopularity with a small contingent of people who didn’t approve of his frankness or his willingness to stand up for certain causes, a trait of courage and/or foolhardiness I would happily have had him pass to me genetically—and the careful scholarship that underpinned his good-humored to life, he’s always been a major influence on me. You can certainly see why I would consider Dad as fine a first Valentine as anyone could have. Happy Birthday, dear Dad!

14 thoughts on “My First Valentine

    • So sorry you didn’t get to keep your dad much, much longer. My dad’s dad died when I was 8, and I too have wonderful memories of a wonderful, loving, funny man. I guess we’re lucky at least that we were old enough to appreciate and remember them after losing them…. Most of all, I am mighty grateful I’ve gotten to hang onto my dad thus far!

    • I’m so honored that you come here and keep me company, and glad that I can at least make it worth your while if you enjoy the contents of my little ol’ blog.
      Smooches to you, Ingrid the First!!!

  1. I love this Kathryn, it reminds me of my dad too, who was a Methodist lay preacher and such a kind and patient man, with everyone.

    Happy belated birthday to your dad too. And what a loving tribute to call him your First Valentine. This has brought a warm tear to my eyes 😊 xx

    • I don’t feel too bad for making anyone a tiny bit teary if it’s for happy reasons. 😉 Your dad sounds very special. I’m feeling like a minor sort of Methodist lay preacher in training right now myself, while Richard is interim choir director at a Methodist church in Dallas. 😀 A really terrific bunch of people we’ve been getting to know there, which makes me enjoy the new role for however long it lasts.
      xo

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