As we celebrate Father’s Day, memories of my dad come to mind. He was born in North Carolina in 1909. During his growing-up years, his family moved many different times as his dad worked on the railroad.
When he was 14, he got a job as a telegraph delivery boy. He rode his bike to take messages to families waiting to hear from their loved ones.
He would tell us about one street he often delivered to where a dog often chased him. After he used a rolled-up newspaper to swat at him one time, the dog would sit on the porch and just watch him go by.
After his job of delivering telegrams, he became a telegraph operator with Western Union. It was while he was doing this job that he felt the call into the ministry. Going to Bible college seemed the right thing to do, but he felt he was making pretty good money where he was so he hesitated for a year before going.
The first Christmas he was away from home in Bible school he told us he only had a dime in his pocket, but he reported that he was happy and content knowing he was in the right place.
He stayed in school for seven years in order to complete all of his high school and college work. During these seven years, he had a girlfriend back home who waited patiently for him to finish. They were married in 1935 and he began pastoring full time.
Music was an important part of his life. He played cornet in the orchestra at the Bible college he attended.
Besides loving beautiful sacred church music, he loved John Phillip Sousa marches. He was able to attend one of his concerts while he was in Bible college.
During his summer breaks from school he helped his dad teach church music schools using shaped notes. This love and appreciation of music and ministry was carried on to his children and grandchildren. Three of his grandsons are in full-time ministry.
My dad was also a handyman. He loved to do woodworking. He could often be found in his workshop wearing his coveralls over his shirt and tie. He wanted to be ready in case he got a call to visit someone in the hospital, and he could easily slip out of the coveralls and go visit one of his church members.
Another skill he had was hanging wallpaper. Since our family lived in parsonages, this skill came in handy. We would move into a parsonage that didn’t look so good, and in a short amount of time he would put up new wallpaper.
One of the most important things my dad taught me was the importance of paying tithes and saving for a rainy day. After his death, there was enough saved for my mom’s care in an assisted living facility and later a nursing home for several years.
Being on time was very important to my dad. He thought things should always start on time and end in a timely fashion. If you asked him what time it was, he would say 1:02 or 12:34 — always the exact time. I think it is ironic that he died on 12/12 at 12:00.
My dad was a pastor all his life. He loved people and cared for them. He always put his calling first and presented himself with dignity and reverence. He was a good and faithful husband, father and pastor.
Bonnie Simmerman of Jonesborough is a retired school teacher.