Much of the last post was really about my mom. Today it is all about dad.
My father, in one of his heroic roles as my daddy, was a basketball coach all my life. This meant I grew up surrounded by tall, gorgeous, athletic guys with, for the most part, strong moral character. Since my father was religious and spiritual, he taught his players teamwork, honesty, integrity and adherence to certain moral and honorable principles.
Is it any wonder that I’m all about the heroes in my books?
At a basketball player reunion in his honor several years ago, I realized that almost half of the boys who were on his varsity team ended up going into teaching or coaching. I can’t count how many former players of his talked about his influence and how it was because of him that they went into teaching/coaching.
I said that coaching basketball was one of my father’s heroic roles in my life. Another was as a brilliant, funny, fascinating storyteller. Actually an oral historian, because my dad’s stories were true tales. And unlike some storytellers, my dad’s fish never got bigger, the enemies never got meaner and his role in the story never got more and more and more important. His stories, while never becoming boring, also never grew and expanded as the years went by. He chronicled events accurately. But his turns of phrase, his descriptive powers and his outlook on life made his stories eternally fascinating. I still laugh when I think of them or I hear one of my brothers retelling Daddy’s stories. Luckily, my brothers and my cousins and I inherited that talent for storytelling. It means that we’ll be able to carry on some of the hilarious tales and tidbits about our grandparents, the areas of Mississippi where he and his brother and sister grew up, and word pictures of the colorful characters whom he knew throughout his life.