Psalms 127:3:5 "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that has his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."

My Dad didn't have it easy growing up. He was born in 1945 into a very poor family and moved around from place to place often living in abandoned houses because his father was a migrant worker and followed the crops taking his family with him.

The home he grew up in was nothing like the home he gave my sisters and I. His home was a place of physical abuse, alcohol abuse and hunger. I didn't know my grandfather but what I do know about him is that he wasn't a good man or a good father.

My Dad was the "baby" of five children and he was "Momma's Boy"...he was so close to his mom, but she died when he was just 16 years old of a brain aneurysm and whatever resemblance he had of a home died along with her.

Very soon after the death of his mother his Dad moved another woman into the house. This led to an altercation between my father and my grandfather and my Dad found himself thrown out of the house. At 16 years old he was now on his own.

At 19 he joined the Army and for the next 20 years the Army gave him the home he never had. Not only that, but he was able provide the kind of home to us that was far better than anything he ever experienced as a child.

I was 8 years old when my grandfather died, and i remember how my Dad and Mom jumped on Space-A Flight from Germany and went home to bury his father. My Dad paid for the funeral and gave honor to the man who never gave him anything. Many years later my dad gave me a motorcycle out of the blue and when I asked why, with tears in his eyes he said to me "My Dad never gave me anything...and I just wanted to give my son a motorcycle."

My Dad did things with me that his father never would've done with him. He took me camping, bike riding and swimming. He wrestled and played with me on the floor always letting me "win". I'll never forget how he made an Army uniform for me by altering one of his own to fit me!

One summer while we were stationed in Germany, he took me camping in the Black Forest and I remember so badly wanting to carry my own knife to whittle with. So, he took an old pair of his combat boots and cut some of the black leather off and made a sheath out of it, perfect for the little paring knife he took out of the kitchen drawer! I'll never forget how grown up I felt when he hung that on my belt!

Even though my Dad was far from perfect, even though he had a bad temper at times, I know that he tried very hard to be a good husband to my mother and a good father to us 3 kids.

Now as a Dad and Grand-Dad myself, I know he did the best he knew how considering the home he grew up in.  By his loving example, he taught me everything I know about being a good Dad and a Grandfather.

Thanks, Dad for not being a quitter and for being a fighter. Thanks, Dad for giving us what you never had...a loving home, full bellies and a warm bed. Dad, you are my hero! My children, my children's children and I are forever indebted to you for being the kind of man you are!

You broke the cycle of abuse, alcohol and hunger. You've given us everything we could ever need! And I know that you've made your Momma so very proud!

I love you, Dad and I'm honored to have your name and to have you call me your son.