Father Figures

Thinking about my dad as I look forward to June 17, 2018 – Father’s Day – I contemplate my own father and the men in my life who were father figures. This past week I spent a few days in my home town of Marlow, OK. Walking down memory lane with the intentionality to explore my roots, upbringing and engage in adult conversation about my childhood, I found myself with Leroy Loveless.

Leroy is married to Janet and father to Kyle and Lynn. He is a grandfather to Austin and Gabe and a father-in-law to Brandy. He was and is a father figure to me. Lynn and I became fast friends when my family moved in down the street during my second grade year. I met Leroy in 1976 when I was 7.

Although I spent my playtime with either Lynn or Kyle and my older brother, Will, I was influenced by Leroy (and Janet but this is a father’s day tribute). Frequent dinners at their home, in and out of their house all weekend long and game playing in the living room put me and Leroy in contact, even if we weren’t actually talking to one another.

Leroy was, and still is, soft spoken. If you have met me, you know that is not a definition used to describe any part of my being. I have memories of him reading the newspaper in his chair after work. If he ever had a beer or alcoholic beverage in his hand, I didn’t know it. He led the family prayers at the dinner table and made sure when we chewed gum we didn’t smack it loudly. Blowing bubbles were not permitted when Leroy was around.

He demonstrated kindness to me and all others when I was lucky enough to see, let alone hear the conversation. It makes me giggle today thinking of our drives in the truck with Leroy to another friends’ home or just to the Loves’ Country store on a Saturday…he was also a slow driver. Lynn and I would whisper to one another that the snails may get to our destination before us. On occasion I would attempt to blow a bubble with my gum and Lynn would shoot me a terrified glance – more giggles.

Leroy was thoughtful, contemplative and caring. In my sophomore year of high school (age 16) Leroy and Janet’s son, Kyle was killed in an auto accident. My father, their physician, declared Kyle deceased with Leroy by his side. I have much trouble remembering details about the next few weeks as our lives were in so much pain.

During our conversations this past week Leroy reminded me that my family was very helpful to Lynn and he was thankful. As I heard him say this I realized how helpful Leroy had been to me. After Kyle’s death, he still prayed at the dinner table. He continued his activities with the Methodist Church. He was still a thoughtful, contemplative and caring man and he was still soft spoken and kind.

Leroy was careful to demonstrate how thankful he was to have had Kyle for 17 years. What an enormous impact he had on me during my years before Kyle’s death, after and even today. I know my dad was thankful for the Loveless family down the street, hosting me at their dinner table and pouring good values and love into me. I am thankful for both men and the powerful way they showed God’s love to me.

Take time to thank the men in your life who represent love, perseverance and kindness. Show your kindness to others with a purchase of our blue SevenDays® Make a Ripple, Change the World t-shirts for $15.00. We have all sizes for the men and boys in your life.

Thank YOU so very much for your contributions in memory of Reat on his 19th birthday! We received just under $7,000 in contributions that will be used directly for kindness, interfaith youth programming and healing projects, all under the umbrella of our Faith Always Wins Foundation. You make a ripple!

In faith, love and kindness

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