Butch Says, “Thanks, Dad!”

My four brothers and sisters and I were very lucky. We had one of the best fathers any child could ask for. Of course, we were like a lot of other kids who have great dads, we appreciated everything he did for us, but we just didn’t thank him enough when he was still with us. Dad died of a heart attack at the age of 66. My sister, Sarah, and I were with him when he passed away, and she and I hugged each other…knowing that we had lost a great father and mentor. We know our Dad is in Heaven still watching over us…so Dad, here are a few things I would like to thank you for…

….Thanks for letting me tag along with you to the elevator, drug store, restaurant, and all of the other “loafing places” in Darlington when I was a little whippersnapper. I met lots of friendly people, and I had a great time. I also learned a few things they don’t teach you in school!

….Thanks for making me do my chores on our farm…feeding the animals, cleaning out the barns, and helping you in many other ways…because you instilled in me a strong work ethic and taught me the value of a dollar…and I also learned many skills!

….Thanks for “shaping me up” when I did something bad. I am glad you disciplined me and taught me right from wrong…yes, sometimes with a paddle, but you did it out of love. But you also let me be a “free spirit” and learn from my own mistakes.

….Thanks for letting me participate in all of the sports at school. You never “pushed” me, and you never criticized me if I performed poorly in an event or game. You told me to just always do my best…win or lose…and be a good sport.

….Thanks for teaching me math and encouraging me to read great books by great authors. You helped me to become a good student in school and at college…and guess what, Dad? My math skills are still top notch, and my love of reading became a lifelong passion.

….Thanks for the advice you gave me when I graduated from high school…to decide where I want to live first, and to choose an occupation that I would enjoy…not select a job just for the money and prestige.

….Thanks for making me laugh…Dad, you told the best jokes and pulled lots of funny pranks on all of us. You always kept us in a good mood! And when you were the announcer during all of those years at the American Legion summer festivals on Main Street, you always kept the crowds entertained!

….Thanks for serving our country as a soldier. I used to play Army with your old uniforms and helmet when I was little. I didn’t really know about all of the horrors of war that you went through until I was older. I was always proud to be the son of an World War II veteran.

….Thanks for telling me to enjoy the little things in life and not to take life too seriously…and to enjoy my kids…and be sure to spoil my grandkids! Also, you encouraged me to do something nice for others each and every day.

Thanks again, Dad, you were the greatest…I love you, and my brothers and sisters love you…and we will all see you again someday. Happy Father’s Day!

John “Butch” Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 32 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history.