Faith: Memories of Dad help me in the face of difficulties
September 2, 2020
My dad’s birthday slipped by quietly this week. He would have been 83.
I spent the day before his birthday doing the same thing I’ve done for decades. I baked him a cake. There’s a family spice cake recipe that was Dad’s favorite. In reality, he loved any baked goods that found their way to him. Minus the tofu cheesecake (epic fail).
Any time I’m in the kitchen with the family cookbooks, I feel the presence of all the bakers who’ve gone before me. I’ve always thought those were special hugs from heaven, those little visitations. Funny how the fragrance of spices can conjure up memories.
I’m not sure who the spice cake recipe belongs to; the cookbook belonged to my grandmother or my great-grandmother. There’s a history of baking steeped in tradition, of passing a recipe from one generation to another. I find comfort in blending together something that these women made for family. Even though they’re gone, the connection is still there.
Up to my elbows in flour and deep in my memories, I miss my dad all the more. I remember conversations about our people, and he’d either add his 50 cents or correct my recollection, laughing all the while. I think he liked the trips down Memory Lane as much as I did.
I still take those trips, but now, it’s just me. In my heart, I can hear his version of stories and his laughter. It’s funny … I remember as a kid, putting my feet in my dad’s shoes, and scuffling along the floor. All these decades later, I find myself doing the same thing. Dad, you’ve left some pretty big footprints to fill … but I try.
When faced with difficult situations or change, I can hear my dad’s voice. Sometimes things just are the way they are … and we must do the best that we can in that moment. Don’t meet unkindness with unkindness but rise above. Take your lesson from a situation and move on to the next.
There’s a quote attributed to John Wesley that I always thought summed up the way my dad lived his life: Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
Happy birthday, Dad. Love you to the moon and back.
Patti Dobson writes about faith for The Eastern New Mexico News. Contact her at: