When I thought, Blog Day, I wondered what the Lord would lay on my heart. I have been thinking about my Dad. What is it about him that he continues to live in my heart? What was it like for Dad when he grew up? What kind of little boy was he?
Without the ever-flowing words of Mom, I would not have snippets of his life. I would not know what made him a strict disciplinarian with a twinkle in his eye. I would not know the compassion that was in his heart and the steadfast faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
He died June 6, 1979. I have forgotten the sound of his voice, but when I least expect it, I feel the piercing pang that comes with missing Daddy.
Mother wrote that when she met Dad, ‘I was furious when he whispered into my ear, “You know that God created you just for me….”‘ At five foot 7 inches, his hazel eyes and a square chin he did not compare to her ideal man of six feet, dark curly hair, with a booming baritone. She tried to avoid him. But to no avail. During that school year from September to April, Dad pursued Mom.
Daddy was born in McPherson County, Kansas, to Jacob and Emilie Siemens who were Dutch-German immigrants whose families lived in Russia for almost 100 years. In 1903, Daddy’s parents purchased a homestead in Washita County in Oklahoma. They were poor folks who worked hard. Jacob the Fifth was gifted with words and with the knowledge of the Bible and was soon appointed as a traveling evangelist, besides farming and auctioneering.
Little Herman was a serious fellow who was interested in crawling things and machinery. When his mother warned him about the wormy creature he played with, he said, “If it poisons me, I will warn others.” He once told me about working on farm machinerHis hands and mind knew just what to do to fix cars, tractors, electric lights and irons.
When Herman was almost 17 years old, he completed his high school diploma and began teaching country school for four years, attending summer school at a university. He decided to get his degree at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas. His friends showed him a picture of the the girl they picked out for him. He said he only wanted a degree, not a wife. By April, Mother wrote, “He won and we were engaged to be married.”
The engagement was two years long, as Mother promised to teach school two years. After marriage they taught school in Oklahoma. Once Mother said she didn’t dare admire anything or Dad would get it for her if all possible. He couldn’t sit still and had to be doing something. He was ecstatic when he found out he was to be a father, and I arrived on June 16th. He soon realized that he needed to change occupations to support his family and moved to Clinton, Oklahoma. He delivered special delivery letters, worked as a janitor and as a substitute for several years. He took a civil service exam and worked until 9 pm on May 17th, 1930, before he could go see his new son, Bennie James. He became a ‘regular’ in the post office in 1935.
Some of my summer memories was riding on the the running board of the parcel post truck and watched Dad deliver mail. October 16, 1945, Dad drove his 1938 ‘Chevy’ on the 94 miles and 202 boxes of the Rural Route 1 in Watonga, Oklahoma. He retired December 30, 1963.
What did I learn from Daddy? Responsibility, the ‘can-do’ spirit, a steadfast faith, a sense of humor and how to laugh every day. Dad believed in corporal punishment. Once when I was about ten, Dad sent me for a switch from the Tamrisk Bush. I found a very slender short stem. It was not suitable for Dad, and he sent me for another switch that ‘wouldn’t break’. The anticipation of the punishment was worse when I had to choose the instrument he would use.
God gives fathers strong arms to gently hold little babes;
God gives fathers strong legs to lead children safely along life’s way
God gives fathers ears to hear the cries of pain and laughter
God gives fathers tongues to geach and nurture the young ones in His love
God gives fathers eyes of love that go deep into the heart
God gives fathers wisdom to place little hands into the hands of God.
As time passes, I see the wisdom of my Dad….and the words of one of the Ten Commandments becomes more clear: Honor your father and mother so that you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you. Exodus 20:12
What has Dad taught me? He taught me to trust our Lord, and lean not on my own understanding. When Dad died I felt bereft, something was missing in my life. That is when I began to understand more clearly the phrase I use as a greeting in every prayer ….. Dear Heavenly Father….. and understanding the complexities of the Fatherhood of our God in Heaven.
I John 3:1-3 What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to. But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.