‘Tis the season to be jolly and a beautiful season it is. It is the season of gift-giving. My thoughts go back through the years to the gift that Daddy gave mother unknowingly.
I was the youngest of three children. Being seven years younger than my youngest brother gave me time at home as if I were an only child. My daddy had a problem with drinking and wasn’t interested in spiritual things, or at least as far as I could tell. But mother kept the home fires burning and taught us the Bible way.
Mother didn’t drive. She promised me when I turned sixteen and got my driver’s license she would buy us a car and I could drive us to church, as she called it. We looked forward to that time. I passed the test the first time and got my license. Mother kept her promise and bought us a 1956 Chevrolet that was turquoise and white. Mother and I started going to worship. Mother was re-baptized to make sure of her baptism. At the age of eleven she had given in to a group of friends who begged her to come on and be baptized with them. Daddy wasn’t interested in going to church with us, but then Daddy got sick.
Daddy was hospitalized for several days and I had an idea. I made an appointment to talk with his doctor. After being seated in front of Dr. Cooper’s desk, I told him who I was and that my Daddy was his patient in the hospital. He nodded his head. I said, “Dr. Cooper, I wouldn’t ask you to lie for anything in the world. My daddy has drunk all my life, and if you could tell him something that would scare him into quitting his drinking, you would make our house a home.” I don’t recall Dr. Cooper doing any more than listening, but I left there with a hopeful heart.
Later in the week daddy was dismissed from the hospital. Before I left for work one morning he commented that he had wanted to talk to “that little preacher” but never got to. Raymond Elliott, preacher at the local church, had visited Daddy regularly in the hospital. Raymond called me at work that morning to see how daddy was doing. He came to visit him that afternoon. As the three of us sat in the living room visiting, I was afraid to mention what Daddy had said that morning, but I did it anyway. I asked daddy if he didn’t say he wanted to talk to the preacher. He said that he did. My heart was in my throat. I knew better than to make my daddy mad. Raymond ushered me out of the room immediately and closed the door so they could talk privately.
The next Sunday was a beautiful day. Douglas was visiting me from Alabama Christian College and Daddy asked if he could go to church with us. He and mother sat toward the back in the middle section of the building. Doug and I sat nearer the front. My heart was overflowing with joy and I know mother’s was also. During the invitation song I noticed movement to my left. I can still see my daddy walking down the aisle toward brother Elliott. He confessed having lived in sin for 30 years. I had lived 20 of those years with him.
Daddy gave God his heart that Sunday morning, confessed his sins and laid his drinking, smoking and cursing down that day. He gave mother the best gift he could have ever given her. Daddy later became a deacon in the church and couldn’t understand why anyone would ever want to drink. Daddy and mother attended the services of the church every time the doors were open and they were physically able to go. He loved dressing in the suits mother bought him, and wore them all day on Sunday. Mother wanted him to change his clothes and not get them dirty. Daddy died a faithful Christian at the age of 78 years. Mother looks forward to seeing him again one day.
The gift daddy gave mother was priceless and is treasured still.