Tuesday, June 9, 2009


“Your father would be so proud of you.”
“Daddy would expect you to take your medicine like a big, brave boy.”
The visitor sat on the couch in the front room of the small house, feeling deeply impressed by how often the widow she visited reminded her children of her deceased husband’s love and concern for them. When the children were at last settled in their beds, she turned to her friend.
“Your husband must have been a wonderful father,” she said.
“What! That bounder? He never lifted a finger to do one thing for me or the kids.”
Startled, the visitor stammered, “But you told the children how proud he would be of them and little Johnny took his medicine willingly when you said his father would expect him to be brave.”
“Oh that!” the mother scoffed. “That worthless man never did anything to help with them when he was alive, but he ain’t going to get off without doing his share now just because he’s dead.”
For some reason, that story has stayed with me for years, both amusing me and reminding me of the importance of fathers.

I was fortunate to be raised by a father whose love I never doubted. He was a farmer which meant I worked beside him from the time I was a small child until I left home as a young adult. He taught me to weed, irrigate, milk, ride a horse or handle a team, pick spuds, drive a truck or tractor, and perform all of the other tasks there are never enough hands to accomplish on a farm. We played together too; he taught me to fish, run races, and dance. He encouraged my love for books and attended all of the plays and performances of my childhood. We shared many chocolate malts, cracked and ate a lot of nuts together, and argued politics. I believed implicitly that nothing could ever harm me as long as my big, strong, brave Daddy was near. I was fortunate to have such a father.

Sometimes I grow weary of the negative role fathers often play in today’s entertainment. Too often they’re cast as brutal and cruel or as childish morons. If only every child could be blessed with not only a wonderful mother, but a kind, loving father too. And I wish the media would portray fathers as positive role models.

Over on my blog I run a contest twice a month. This time the central theme is fathers. The prizes are books, LDS novels I’ve received from various publishers and authors for possible reviews which I write for Meridian Magazine. I’ve been writing reviews for a long time and I have books overflowing every bookcase in my house. I don’t want to throw them away, nor do I want to stuff them in boxes to be forgotten, but the sheer number has gotten out of hand. Books are meant to be read and I’m aware no one can buy every book he or she would like to read and some people live in areas where they have a difficult time acquiring LDS novels, so I decided to give away books to those who visit my blog and write a paragraph or two concerning the topic I introduce at the beginning of each contest period. This time the topic under discussion is fathers and I’m inviting readers of the V-Formation to share memories of their fathers or write a tribute to their fathers, husbands or men they consider exemplary fathers.

From now on (at least for the foreseeable future ) I’ll be extending my win-a-book contest to V-Formation readers. Responses here will be included in each drawing, not just this time but for each contest. Multiple entries are allowed. Every comment made during the two weeks of the contest, no matter to which of the blogs I write it is attached, during that two week period, will be added to the drawing. With each contest I display the covers and tell a little about several books that match the theme, but winners are invited to give me a list of alternative books they would like to read and if I have one of the books on the wish list, I’ll send it instead of or in addition to the proposed prize. The present contest which features fathers is already under way and runs until noon June 15. Prizes must be claimed within five days of announcing the winner and will only be mailed to US or Canadian addresses.

Recently I received duplicate copies of All the Stars in Heaven by Michele Paige Holmes. I’m adding my duplicate copy to the prizes for this contest because this book also has important things to say about a father/daughter relationship, though in this case the example is negative. However, the book is exceptionally good and you can read my review of it next week on Meridian. Until then let’s hear about your fathers.


Michele Ashman Bell said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. I think it's awesome that you're sharing the wealth of wonderful novels that you have with readers.

Gale Sears said...

I always love the stories of your young years...fascinating. And, giving away books? What a gift. You're so supportive of the LDS writing community.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Jennie, your father was a wonderful man. Thank you for sharing more about him.