Incredible gift of Wisdom Eyes

Published 8:21 pm Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Leave it to me to write a story about fathers after Father’s Day. I am not behind. My calendar just got ahead of me!

On Father’s Day Sunday friends were posting pictures of their dads on social media and families gathered everywhere to celebrate the patriarch of their clan.

When I saw these photos of the fathers both in heaven and living, along with tributes, I felt a pang of guilt. I found a great snapshot of dad and quickly posted it on Facebook. 

The picture captured my father with his brother and some friends before teeing off on a golf course in Nashville around 1960 something.  His broad smile is beaming, and he is wearing his signature floppy hat over his almost bald head. Of course, his pants made me laugh because in those days men wore their britches just below their rib cage. Later, when my son was a teenager, dad would yell, “The boy is going to lose those pants if he doesn’t pull ‘um up!” Dad had a way with words; he never minced them.

My dad and I had a good relationship, but it wasn’t without its issues. I wouldn’t call him a doting father by any means. Some days we didn’t even like each other, but there wasn’t a day I didn’t respect my father. Our relationship was never strained to the point of breaking, but a few times we honestly tried to see how much tension the old rope held before mom played referee and blew the whistle to call a timeout.

Now that I am reaching an age labeled “older” or “senior,” I look at my father with wisdom eyes. “Wisdom Eyes” is my new phrase for having eyes that look the same as when I was young, but I view things differently. 

One lesson I learned from my dad is how to grow older with youthfulness. He never believed the years should make him age, and they didn’t.  Dad could make one laugh from the time he was a toddler to the day he left this earth. He had an incredible wit, and nothing thrilled him more than to evoke a giggle.   

He didn’t complain about anything in life except grumpy old folks. He did not like folks who whined or were rude. He had health issues but never discussed them. He didn’t want to burden anyone else with his aches and pains. “If I don’t talk about them, I don’t notice them so much!” He would say.   

Dad couldn’t sit still. Even when the circulation in his legs made it difficult to walk, and long after his retirement, he carried a Windex bottle around and cleaned car windows for folks in his senior living facility. Even when his dancing days were over, he played the tunes so others could dance. “Lazy” was never a word in his dictionary.

Dad didn’t graduate from college and couldn’t spell “cat,” but his honesty, common sense in business and managerial skills enabled him to be successful, save money and play golf. Daddy always said, “Doesn’t matter what degree you have or how smart you are, if you can’t relate to people you will never succeed.” 

Ray Walker loved many things in life. If we all experienced the same kind of love my father gave to his wife, we would be blessed. His love of all people was his biggest asset. He honestly tried to make the world a better, happier, and more honest place. He would tell a deeply personal story to make a person feel better about themselves.    

When I was younger, I dreamed of having one of those doting fathers whose daughters could do no wrong.  Now my “Wisdom Eyes” see my father taught me that humor cures many ills and complaining makes my troubles worse. He instilled in me the value of never sitting still so that I may help others and I don’t even know the meaning of “lazy.” And, Lord knows, I don’t mince words! I was educated to be an interior designer, but I would not have succeeded or paid my bills if I was not able to relate to my clients. My love of people is such that I will tell a deeply personal story to help another. To this day, a Windex bottle has special meaning and maybe if I start wearing a floppy hat my golf score will improve. I am still learning, and dad is still teaching through the life he lived.

When we look at our lives through “Wisdom Eyes” we see clearly those who paved the way for us to become all we were meant to be and God gave me the father he knew would do the job. 

Thank you, dad!