Sunday, February 10, 2008

Happy 86th, Dad!

Although we celebrated yesterday at my brother's house, today is my dad's 86th birthday. He was born in 1922. Can you imagine that?
The average annual income in 1922 was $2,067. A new car cost $390. A loaf of bread was $0.09. One gallon of milk was $0.52, and one gallon of gas was $0.11.

The songs "April Showers" and "Carolina in the Morning" were big in 1922.

Insulin was discovered in 1922. President Harding brought the first radio into the White House in 1922.

On February 11, 1922, a second son was born to Walter and Lena Batt in Muncie, IN. They named him Virgil Howard, but everyone has always called him "Bud." Several more children were born to this family, and since they were basically unable to care for their children's material needs, the children were removed from their home.

As a result, my father grew up in the local Children's Home, something like an orphanage. Therefore, there are no pictures of him as a child. No one made a big deal about his birthday or at Christmas. I remember him telling me that to receive fruit in a stocking was a huge Christmas treat. He learned to make a bed so taut and wrinkle-free a coin would bounce on it. He learned to keep all of his dresser drawers neat as a pin there. He learned to expect little in life, and yet a lot was expected of him.

When he left the Children's Home, he served in WW II in many places in Europe. Right before he left, he married his teenaged sweetheart, my mother, Lucille, whom everyone called "Lou." Bud and Lou.

In a European foxhole, my father cried out to God with bullets flying overhead, promising God that if he survived this skirmish, he would live to serve Him.

When he returned home and started a family, within a short time he took his wife and three boys to church. He has been at the same church for over 50 years.

When I was born, my father was 40, quite an advanced age for a father in 1962. My mother says that my dad and their pastor jumped for joy when the hospital staff announced, "It's a girl."

My dad was a truck driver, but he was the antithesis of the stereotype, soft-spoken and gentle. He worked many late hours Monday through Friday. Many summer evenings, I would see his truck round the corner of our street, and I would start waving and jumping. When he got close to where I was on the sidewalk, I would take off and race him home.

When he came in, he scrubbed his face, ears, neck, arms and hands before my mom put dinner on the table. I watched him scrub himself until I thought he was going to peel his skin off. He wouldn't have thought of coming to the table unwashed.

He loved his La-Z-Boy and newspaper and still does. He paid his tithes faithfully every single week of my life, never once complaining. I never heard him utter a disrespectful or flirtatious remark about any woman, whether on TV or behind their backs. He respected my mother and other women too much to behave like that.

There was no one to teach my dad how to be a "good dad" by today's standards, and he certainly never saw it modeled at home or in the Children's Home, but he never mistreated me once, and I always knew he loved me and was proud of me.

Since my father loved me, he provided a safe home for me and met my needs. But more than this, he made sure I grew up knowing who Jesus is. I could not ask for anything more comforting than to know that someday I'll be with my father, and my father's Father, in a place where God heals every hurt, and there are no regrets, and there is only joy.

I am my father's only daughter. He is my only dad.

Happy Birthday, Dad.


30 comments:

Carol said...

What a sweet tribute to your Dad. Happy Birthday, Bud! ~Carol
(I Throw Like a Girl)

gcrow said...

This post opened the floodgate to my emotions. I have such a deep, deep respect, appreciation and admiration for this faithful soldier, husband, and father. I'm sure in some language somewhere, 'bud' has to mean 'faithful one'.

Thanks so much for this tribute.

Barbara H. said...

Happy Birthday to your wonderful dad!

Barbara H. @ Stray Thoughts

BeverlyDru said...

Wow. I am moved. Amazing... my Dad was also born in 1922. Times were really hard. His dad left my grandmother when my Dad was just
9 and he became the man of the house. He served in WWII and then the navy put him through college. He was also a "late" dad because of all that. He moved to heaven 17 years ago. He was amazing. Wish I could hug your Dad and wish him Happy Birthday. So glad you can do it for me.

Kimberly said...

I love to hear stories like this! We're always hearing of the awful things that happen or people do on the news. No one ever tells the stories of faithful men and women who do what's right, no matter what. Praise the Lord for folks like your dad! Praise the Lord for the change that God can make in a life!

Debbie said...

I am continually amazed at how much we have in common that I didn't even know about! Daddy was 40 when I was born too (way old to be a having a baby in 1959) and served in WWII also.
Sounds like you were a "daddy's girl" like me too.

Very nice post about your dad. I really enjoyed it.

Amy Wyatt said...

Your father sounds like a wonderful man. This post made me cry. Loved it.

A Stone Gatherer said...

What a wonderful tribute to you dad! His generation holds so many wonderful examples for us to follow! I hope your dad has a wonderful birthday!

gail said...

what a wonderful tribute to your father. what a wonderful legacy he has given you.

my father was also born in 1922 but has been in heaven for several years now. enjoy your time with your father.

Suzio said...

What a lovely tribute to your Dad. I am sure he is as proud of you and you are of having him as your father.

Melanie said...

Precious.

Our dads are different ages but very similar. I can relate to seeing him wash up before dinner, reading the paper in his chair, and always showing respect to women. He is gentle and soft-spoken as well.

Deven said...

Happy Birthday, Great-Uncle Bud!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

What a precious post, Linda. God's continued blessings on you and your Dad.

Mocha with Linda said...

Such a sweet tribute.

Makes me think of my dad. Many similariites...Mine was born in 1921 (actually, 3 months & 3 days older than your dad), he turned 40 a couple of mnonths after I was born; was in WW II, faithful and disciplined was his middle name. He left this earth 11 years ago.

Happy Birthday to your dad.

Susanne said...

What a beautiful birthday post about your Dad! He sounds like an amazing man! 50 years in the same church. What faithfulness and dedication. Happy Birthday to him!

kittyhox said...

What a great man. It takes a very special person to build a family and be a good husband and father when he never had an example to model himself after. I can just "hear" the love, pride, and respect in your post... :)

His Doorkeeper said...

Linda, I had to shed a few tears on your wonderful tribute to your Dad. He was a man of honor and how the younger boys of today need an example like that. Thanks for your loving tribute from a Daddy's girl! Blessings!

Darlene R. said...

What a great tribute to your daddy! Happy Birthday to him.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

That was beautiful Linda. You are so so blessed.

Happy birthday, Bud!

Mel's World said...

Linda,

I absolutely have chill bumps...what a beautiful story and great way to celebrate your father. What a blessing it is for him to be 86 and celebrating with his family. God is so good and you are one very blessed woman!

xoxo,
Melissa

Teresa said...

What a beautiful tribute to your father! My dad was born in 1925 and I lost him 5 1/2 years ago. Enjoy the time you have with him! What precious memories!!!

Joshua said...

What an amazing man of God! He is such an inspiration! I can only hope & pray that someday, I will have a little girl to say things of me that are similar to this--he seems to embody all it means to be a faithful servant of God, a loving/sacrificial husband, a loving/providing father, and a man of integrity.

WOW, Bud!!
:)

Mike said...

Wow. A great, great story.

Happy 86th to your Dad. And happy Valentine's to you.


Mike
http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.com/

If you are interested in a photo challenge, please join me at http://www.mikeleonen.com/
Appreciate a visit even if you are not, though.

Lelia Chealey said...

Oh that was so awesome!! What a man of God that is living out God's plans for his life.
He beat the odds that kids in orphanages have to beat. And he beat them unrecognizable. Thank you for sharing this awesome testimony of a man you obviously are in love with. A man of such integrity. Don't know him, but the words you wrote over him speaks loud & clear of your love & respect for him.
Happy Birthday, Linda's Dad!!
Blessings & hugs!
Lelia

DidiLyn said...

Oh gosh, you brought tears to my eyes with this wonderful post. I love your Dad too. (no I don't know him) But after reading that, I do love him.
Thank you for writing about him.
Diane

Marsha said...

Happy 86th Birthday to Bud! He sounds like a wonderful man and a great example for fathers just beginning the journey of raising their children.

And thanks for the encouragement you left at my blog Linda!

PJ said...

What a wonderful tribute!! Happy birthday to your dad! You are blessed!!

Life In Progress said...

That was so sweet! I hope you let him read this.

Happy Birthday Bud!

samurai said...

That is so awesome... thank you for sharing your Dad with us... what an inspiration.

Ann said...

Happy Birthday to your loving dad! I hope you read your tribute to him or let him read it:)