My father, Jasper C. Oldham died on April 7th this year. On June 16th, my father would have been 93-years-old. He lived a long and prosperous life. June is also Father’s Day, so I have asked Dena if I could have our space to share with you some lessons learned from my Dad. I hope you will indulge me.
Jasper C. Oldham – My father was a Christian man and the first lesson that he taught me was how to be a good Christian. I had a safe childhood and was brought up in a loving environment and a joyous home. I suffered no hunger and my dad sometimes even did the cooking. He worked hard every day to provide our family with shelter and clothing and all the necessities of life.
My dad was a great Sunday school teacher. I started teaching Sunday school because of my father’s inspiration. I studied hard and tried to learn the lesson, hoping that my class would walk away from the lesson having learned something that could help them get through their week.
My dad had trials and tribulations at his workplace, but he overcame those obstacles and continued to do a great job for his company. When he retired, his company rewarded him with a management pension, gold watch, and much kudos from the administration for a job well done. They gave him the respect that he had earned by standing up for what he believed in. This was a life lesson for me. Stand up if you know you are right and let others around you know that you believe firmly in your opinions.
Even though my father worked long hours every day, in the evenings he would take the time to play ball with me and my friends. He would take us to the park or ballpark and teach us the fundamentals of pitching and batting. He had this huge laugh and if we made a mistake or ran the wrong way he didn’t make fun. He would just laugh loudly in the way we knew, all was well in the world.
A bully once hit me for no apparent reason and my father went to the school and confronted the boy. The bully was much larger than my father, but Dad stood up to him and took up for me. He had to take time off from work to do this. I was never picked on in school again and I learned a valuable lesson from my dad —stand up for the rights of your children and show them you care for them and will always protect them.
My father helped a friend of mine whose parents didn’t want to take time to teach him to drive. Dad taught him and also took him to the DMV to get his license. He didn’t stop there; he also helped him to get his own car. This went way beyond his role of not only being my father but also to help another child who needed fatherly guidance. This was certainly an excellent example of fatherly love expressed to another child.
A man once stopped us and asked my dad for money. He said he was hungry. My dad took him to a restaurant and bought him a meal. When I asked why he did that instead of just giving him the money, Dad said, “If he was truly hungry, I wanted to feed him. But if he was going to take my money and buy something harmful to him, I didn’t want to be a part of that.” I learned a valuable lesson that day and I, in turn, have done the same thing for people who ask me for money to buy food.
He was a wonderful grandfather to my children, playing ball and teaching them some of life’s lessons, and for this I am glad. He was part of their lives and they got to know him before he became sick. I hope to be a better grandfather myself from the lessons I learned from him.
I can never thank him enough for being my father. I could not have asked for a better man to show, by example, complete honesty, Christianity, faith, love, and devotion to me and our family.
Today I wish you a happy 93rd birthday, knowing you are no longer suffering, knowing you are in Heaven, and knowing that God let you have me for 67 years, so that you could teach me to be a better father to my own sons. I just hope I can live up to the high standards that you have set for me.
Happy Father’s Day and know that I think about you daily so that every day is like Father’s Day.
Your Loving Son