We celebrate the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day! A day to honor those who have, have been, are or are going to be fathers and all of us have or should have a person we call Father or Dad.
While I could talk on and on about what it’s been like to be a father, father-in-law or grandfather myself, most of those stories are filed away for other moments of sharing about the joys my kids (Tony and Alicia), step-kids (Lisa, Teresa & Johnny), current and ex-in-laws (Melissa, Jenny, Justin, John and Jason), as well as grandkids (Denise, Keller, Erika, Jaiden, Korbin, Connor, Colton, Tanner and Ezra) have brought into my life.
For now, I want to count the blessings I have had for having not just my father, but some Uncles, a Grandfather and many church Dads along my life travels to help steer me to the place I am today.
First, my Dad – the Rev. Dwight Snesrud. As much as I found myself not happy at times while growing up in what I called the fishbowl of being a ‘preachers’ kid, I look back now and see nearly all the positives and not so many of the negatives.
While Dad was often much too busy to be available to attend my events or school activities, I realize now that he was busy being the spiritual leader for sometimes well over 600-700 church members during the turbulent times of the 1960’s and 70’s. Of course, that was back in the day when a church pastor was sometimes the only full-time paid leader of the parish – that’s right up to 700 members and still, he may have had just a volunteer church member running the Christian Education programs, Youth programs, youth choirs, and more. As I recall the church did pay for a part-time secretary, a part-time custodian/groundskeeper and maybe the adult choir director. Unlike today’s pastors, my Dad did so much of it on his own or leading the direction for the volunteers, it was not a wonder as to why he was not always there for my basketball and baseball games, or to take me to sports events.
What my Dad always did find time for was a YMCA group called the Y-Indian Guides, and our group was very special. Y-Indian Guides was a father/son program with groups of up to 10 families meeting a couple of times a month and doing things from craft projects, to race car building, to discovery things – and it was a time for just me and my Dad.
Our Y-Indian Guide group lasted longer than any other group had in Lincoln back in the day as we met up until near the end of our eighth or ninth grade years and the memories of times with Mark Buss, Steve Gottsch, Steve Heironymus, Jeff White and others, plus their Dads will be cherished forever. I for one still have my ‘Running Hawk’ Indian vest to go with my Dad’s ‘Sleeping Hawk’ vest, that we made when I must have been like eight years old, and I think Steve Gottsch’s Mom still has the totem pole we had that represented our Chiricahua (spelling is questionable) tribe.
My Dad was frugal, and while (as my wife refers to it) it may seem to sound like we had a lot, we just had enough to do things to make it look that way – plus we had help from family in Colorado and South Dakota.
Despite joking at times about growing up in the shadow of the fishbowl of being a ‘preacher’s kid’, I know that thanks to my Dad I had a special life with way more fun and memorable moments than anything clouded from negative or hurtful times.
Here is where I will change my mind and stick to thanking my Dad for being the spiritual leader I needed, the disciplinarian when I needed it, the teacher when I did not realize I was being taught, the support around me for the times I nearly fell flat, the healer in words and deeds when I needed healing, the love I needed when I didn’t feel like I was very lovable of capable of loving, and the continued voice of reason and uplift for my days even during the days of which his own days seem to be fading.
Here I will say, wait a minute – those uncles, that grandfather and the host of church Dads I could thank as well, will just have to wait for another time and place as Grumpy Gramps winds down this few moments of thanks for a very special Dad that I call my Dad.
Even after nearly 62 years of sharing him with my siblings, my late mom and all those church folks who were like family to him as well – I know in my heart that my Dad is a very special man with very special gifts and every day when I begin my morning and plan my day ahead, I always hope and pray for the same kind of wisdom, insight, hope, faith, love and most importantly – the grace – from me to others as my Dad has presented all of those to me, especially grace.
Thanks Dad and know that every day, several times a day, I think how much I wish I was there to give you many hugs of thanks while always having plenty of love, prayers and blessings sent your way in spirit as well.
(Copyright@2018, CrossDove Writer – no part of this may be printed, copied or used without written permission by CrossDove Writers and Grumpy Gramps.)