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Fulda 125th
Joy in the Journey

June 21, 2013

by Linda Beerman
I saw them in the crowd as I listened to the band play Friday night at the Wood Duck Festival. They were milling around afterward, proud, smiling, and enjoying their children and grandchildren who had entertained us with some great music. Sunday afternoon they were everywhere as I helped sell root beer floats in the Fulda park at the Festival. Many came up to our little table to provide refreshment or an ice cream treat to their younger sons and daughters. Oh, yes, Grandpas came too, with little grandkids trailing beside. Maybe they are as anxious as I am to once again have the pool open to frolic with their families.

Fathers...dads...grandpas...and a day set apart to honor them. It just happened to also be the Wood Duck Festival weekend, so I was able to observe many of them laughing, toting, guiding, parenting, directing, but all the time teaching younger members of their family by their actions and words. Interesting isn't it? How families are put together? When I looked up the word father in the dictionary, the next word was fatigue! I think sometimes that is a part of fathering or being a dad! It certainly is not an easy job, and definitely not one for wimps. At least not if you are going to be a responsible, present one.

Someone mentioned the other day, "the look". Were you raised with it? It is usually silent, but speaks volumes. My father used it, and when he did, he seldom had to yell or spank, "the look" was enough. Sometimes that quick glance can convey pain, anger, concern, or disappointment. It could bring me to tears, and eventually to a spirit of being sorry for whatever I had said or done. Of course before that, I had been taught right and wrong, good and bad. Otherwise confusion would have taken over. But I knew what was expected. Discipline was a part of our daily lives growing up. And I witnessed some of that this weekend too. Thank you, dads, for loving your kids enough to show them the right way!

Dan and I had to miss the first performance of the cantata on Sunday because of our own church obligations. Because of Father's Day, our pastor spoke from Luke, chapter 15, which describes a pretty wise father. He listened, taught, and then gave his son space to "grow up" and make his own mistakes. When the son eventually returned to his father, he was not shunned or rebuked, but welcomed back into the family with forgiveness and love. What a picture for us to see and a model for us to follow.

Above my kitchen sink we have a wooden bar of words that says " In this house we do second chances, real, grace, I'm sorrys, hugs, family and love". All of those things come from loving and sincere fathers. As I "people watched" this past weekend throughout Fulda, I saw multitudes of these qualities from every aged father there. Caring and concern was evident in their actions, words, and how they responded to those in their care.

What is great about all of this is that it doesn't take a wealthy man to give it. It is a free gift from you to your child or grandchild. To know that someone is never going to leave you or deceive you is such a wonderful assurance and gift. It is priceless!

Kind and compassionate would be two words to describe our heavenly father. Hopefully you were blessed to have an earthly father with those same qualities. If not, I would pray for you to rise above that and give the qualities needed to raise your children and grandchildren into dependable, mature adults. Their way will be smoother and easier having learned that from you.

A big thank you to all who put together the fantastic Wood Duck Festival weekend! How fun for a small, intimate community to reacquaint with friends, family, and even neighbors! And to see all of the former students was such fun. Isn't it great that they WANT to come "home"?

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