Father’s Day brings back memories of my dad

Former Minnesota Twin Harmon Killebrew died May 17, 2011. The Hall of Fame slugger, 11th on baseball’s all-time home run list with 573, once shared, “My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say ‘you’re tearing up the grass.’”

My dad would tell her, “We’re not raising grass. We’re raising boys.”

That’s the privilege that God has given us dads, to raise godly kids in a godly home that honors the Lord. When Father’s Day comes around, I always start thinking about my dad, who raised four boys.

I miss a lot about my dad, and I’m thankful that he followed Paul’s admonition: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Gene Chancey was a dedicated father who did his best to point us to know, love and follow the Lord.

My dad died of colon cancer in October, 1993, at age 67, and not one day has passed that I haven’t thought about him. Bear with me as I reflect on some things I loved about my dad.

I loved the way my dad loved my mother. My mom and dad met at Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center near Black Mountain, N. C. It was Training Union week, and Dad spotted Mom, saw on her name tag that she was from Georgia, walked up to her and said, “I see you’re from Georgia, too.” Great opening line, but it must have worked because he started traveling to see her, they stayed in touch, and they had a good marriage of nearly 40 years. My dad always put his family first, and his love for Mom was evident.

I loved the way Dad was always there for us boys. He showed interest in our interests. Little league baseball games, midget league football, band concerts, halftime shows, Beta Club inductions. His presence meant a lot.

I loved his love for the church. He didn’t send us. He went with us, and was a dedicated churchman who loved the Lord, loved his church and loved church people. He served as a deacon, treasurer, Sunday school teacher, committee member. He was supportive. He loved and supported his pastors through the years and was so proud when his oldest son was called to the ministry.

I loved the way he sang hymns. He loved congregational singing. He would close his eyes, appear to be meditating on the words, and sang with gusto. His favorite hymn was “I Know Whom I Have Believed,” and that truth was reassuring because he did have a wonderful walk with the Lord.

I loved his sense of humor. My dad was somewhat devilish at times and loved to pull pranks. While I was attending Georgia College and living at home, I borrowed the family car to go on a date to Six Flags. I got in late at night and didn’t see my parents until the breakfast table the next morning.  

On Sunday mornings we sat down together around the table, and my Dad said the blessing.  On this particular morning, he said something like: “Dear God, thank you for this food. Bless it to nourish our bodies. Thank you for being with me and Mark (my brother) yesterday when we wrecked David’s car. Amen.”

I had this lime green Ford Maverick that I bought with my own grass cutting money. I was so proud of that car. It would be an antique today. I had sweated through many hot summers earning $2 and $3 a yard to pay for a car.  Someone hit my dad from behind and pushed him into another car, so my Maverick got it from both ends. Totaled! But I never will forget how he chose to tell me that he wrecked my car.

I loved that he was a man of his word. I loved that he helped my mom around the house and expected us to, also. When supper was finished, he washed the dishes and we boys took turns drying them. I loved that he taught me to love the Braves, Coke floats and boiled peanuts. I loved that he was a wonderful father and a good man.

I just wish he could have stuck around for a while longer.