Now Memories of My Father 3
My father liked to go out to eat. The cashier at Cracker Barrel today was so sad to hear of his passing. It is Tuesday, the day that meatloaf is the special.
My Dad liked a host of foods that few others seem to like. He liked liver for example. I remember him eating braunschweiger as a child, which I personally didn't mind. I had asked him on Skype from Germany recently if he thought he liked these things because his mother cooked these sorts of things for him as a child. I wondered if it was German background, since the Germans know 1000 ways to cook an intestine. He thought it was possible.
Dad liked sausage and bread. He was almost half way through a McDonalds sausage biscuit when his heart went out of rhythm Monday. With his mom's good Dunker background no doubt, he liked breads. One of the treats was when he would make corn shell tacos, often on a Saturday for lunch.
So perhaps it was no surprise that he discovered he had diabetes at about the age of 50. Unlike so many, he stuck to a diet religiously. In fact, after his first week on an insulin pill the doctor took him off. We were at a hotel for Brooksville Camp Meeting around 1972 when his blood sugar dropped so low that he went dizzy in the night and hit his head on the TV in the room.
I sense I am a lot like my Dad in his enjoyment of going out to eat. Don't invite me over to your house. Dad was a very friendly person as I think I am, but I suspect that deep down he was an introvert. He didn't like going over to visit people because that was pressure.
One fun thing about my Dad had to do with eating out on Sunday. It was a good old Pilgrim Holiness tradition not to "merchandize" on the Sabbath. In other words, you didn't eat out on Sunday because it caused someone else to have to work and Nehemiah decried those who bought and sold things outside the city wall on the Sabbath.
But there was an exception--if the "ox was in the ditch," as my grandfather (I think) used to say quoting Matthew 12:11. And when you were traveling, that was an exception. I honestly think my Dad enjoyed being able to eat out on Sunday when he was traveling. There were times when they would visit our house when my wife Angie wanted to cook but I could tell my Dad preferred to go out. Why waste a legitimate opportunity to go out?
We didn't watch TV on Sunday either. My Dad felt that if he let himself watch TV on Sunday he would watch football all day rather than worship. In my teens he would occasionally make an exception for the debut of Star Wars after Sunday evening church.
My Dad was also quite strict with the TV, especially in the early days, about my sisters not watching violence. Of course the violence then was cowboy shows. I guess my oldest sister Patricia would try to turn the volume down when a shoot out was coming. One favorite story is when she didn't catch a shot one time. Being proactive, she went running to intercept Dad before he got there. "It was in self-defense," she pleaded lest the TV get turned off.
If someone think my father strict, my grandfather was even more. In those days it was considered sinful in many Pilgrim Holiness churches even to own a TV. My grandpa may not have come to visit for a while because of a small black and white TV. Some had a philosophy of giving others a good "letting alone," no doubt following texts like 2 Thessalonians 3:14.
(Incidentally, I remember the late David Smith who taught at Frankfort Pilgrim College talking about some fellow professors showing up at his trailer having heard that he had a TV. He shewed them away by saying they'd be over to look in their homes next if he let them search his.)
I was either not yet born or not aware of my surroundings when my Dad got into some of these conflicts. He apparently was willing to bear some disapproval, although I think it did bother him. But I also know it wasn't my family's way to flaunt our "freedom" either. My mother always tried to dress my sisters appropriately when visiting my grandparents.
My Dad also took some flack for going along with the merger of the Pilgrim Holiness Church to form The Wesleyan Church. One family member told him he'd pray for his soul if he went with the merger--movement toward liberalism and a one world religion, I suppose. I don't think it sat too well with Dad.
I like to say that my father was strict but not legalistic. What I mean is that he had more rules for himself than most others, but he didn't do it for the rules sake. He did them because he thought they were what God wanted him to do. Legalism is when you like rules for their own sake.