The backyard was one of my father’s happy places. I can close my eyes and see him sitting here at the patio table, wearing his plaid shirt, dockers, sun hat, meat on the grill, glass filled with ice and coca cola with his pocket bible in the front pocket of his shirt.
See, the sun continues to rise, the Earth continues to turn and his legacy lives on. His transition was sudden and unexpected, there wasn’t time to say goodbye, one more I love you, or thank you for everything. Yet, there is comfort knowing to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord. This first Father’s Day without him, I’m thankful to say, I’m the daughter of Orzell, affectionately known as Big Boy. I just want to celebrate the man I was privileged to be raised by.
My father was a man who took his job as husband, father and grandfather seriously. He was a humble man, observant , and his silence was thunderous. He believed in being the provider, yet confident to stand back and let my mother manage the house and children. Together, they laid a foundation of excellence for generations to come.
I recall him always saying “What do you want? What do you need? I got you!” From childhood to adulthood, this has never changed.
I remember when I was planning my wedding and he heard my mother and I making plans. His first contribution was, “I’ll buy a limo for the wedding”. Thanks dad, but we can just rent one. 😉”Well, let me know, I got what you need. “
What you need? What you want? I got you! This wasn’t just materialistic things. (Even though that was a big part of it). He and my mother,together put God first, offered prayers, guidance, unconditional love, most importantly instilled in us to have a relationship with God for ourselves.
He was so excited when a new baby was born into the family. He was proud the Echols family was growing. He would proudly hold the new baby in his arms, look them over and declare ” A new baby from baby land with baby rights!” Even, thought it was the same phrase for every baby, this stamp of approval sealed the new baby in our family. We would all laugh with happiness.
They raised us ladies to be independent to never have to depend on anyone. They laid the foundation of the best education and opportunities. I remember when I completed my Doctorate he said Baby May, you did it! He raised his sons and guided his grandsons to be men, providers, and have integrity.
It wasn’t just me , he was proud of all the children and grandchildren. I remember the few days before he transitioned as we were eating dinner , he asked about each person and if they were okay ? If they needed anything? I don’t know if he sensed what was about to happen, but in his typical way , he wanted to make sure everyone was ok.
This father’s day is different. I won’t see him waiting for the phone calls from out of town family, and ready to receive his gifts. I won’t see him in the backyard with his patio shirt, sunglasses, ice cold cup of coca cola and bible in the front pocket. Yet, he’ll be here.
He will live on as we provide and raise our daughter. He will be there as the family grows and expands and we look on the new baby and declare yep, fresh from baby land with baby rights. He will live on as we navigate this Earth side until we meet again.
There are so many stories I can share to celebrate and honor Big Boy. However, it’s simply Thank You. Thank you for all that you were, all that you did and the legacy that lives on.
Today, I will not grieve but rejoice that God gave me the privilege of being raised by the Best that ever was.
Today, the sun will rise, the Earth will continue to spin and his legacy will live on. You will find me sitting at the patio ,looking across the land with my daughter on one side ,my husband on the other enjoying family. The one thing he was most proud of: family.