Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Dad

My father's name is Henry Leslie Taylor. We celebrated his 90th birthday last night (his actual birthday is January 23, 1920.) My siblings and I, along with in-laws, grand-children and great-children participated in the event held at the church he has attended in Hanceville, Alabama, since the late 1950s, Bethlehem East Baptist Church. Dad was the song leader/choir director at the church for about 30 years.

Because of dad's love for music, especially country music, we presented our very own live Hee Haw show. We had skits, jokes and of course a lot of music. About 25 decendents (and in-laws) of dad made up the cast. I think it was a great show. I know dad really enjoyed it. I know I really enjoyed it. Those who decorated the stage and made props did a wonderful job. Even the outhouse looked real! Special thanks go to sister Joyce and brother Garry for planning and directing the show. If we were to give an award for best costume/character, I think it would have to go to sister Linda as Cousin Minnie Pearl, although nephew-in-law Chuck as Elvis would run a close second.

Because the weather was yucky, I was concerned about turn-out. We had invited about 100 guest, but many of them were elderly (dad's friends), and I was afraid the rain and cold might keep them away. Boy, was I wrong. I am not sure how many were in attendance, but the church auditorium was the fullest I have ever seen it. In addition to church members and local friends and family, many of our relatives from dad's side of the family, most of whom I had not seen in many, many years, came from all over Alabama (Dad is the last survivor of his six siblings.) I know that dad loved seeing all of his friends and relatives.

After the show, we gathered for dessert and birthday cake in the church's fellowship hall. Although crowded, I know that everyone had plenty of sweets to eat, and plenty of "talk" to listen to. My wife Kim, along with sisters-in-law Linda and Jan, coordinated the food and deserve a special thanks for the wonderful job they did in preparation and planning for what turned out to be a huge crowd. Thanks and Yum, Yum!

I think my dad is a great man. He married a 19-year old girl right after returning from WWII. They started having kids right away, and kept on having them for 19 years (seven in all.) For much of his life, my dad had two jobs, working as an aircraft mechanic in Birmingham, and farming. He also found time to lead the church choir and build guitars. With the help of my wonderful mother, they still managed to keep all us kids in line. I am grateful for the example he set for me. Although I know that I will never be the man my dad is, I know that all I am is because of who he is.

Thanks, Dad.

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