Friday, June 19, 2020

Happy Father’s Day in Heaven

This Sunday will be the first Father’s Day since my Daddy passed away at the age of 93 ten months ago. I live in Virginia and Daddy lived in Georgia so normally, I called Daddy on Father’s Day. Since that’s no longer an option, instead I’m dedicating today’s post to his memory and sharing some of our family photos.

In the first photo, I’m the baby Daddy is holding. My sister Jennifer is sitting on top of the car beside him and my sister Bonita is standing to her left. I discovered this photo last year after converting negatives I found at Mama’s house.

This is another photo discovered in the negatives. Daddy and I are in the back yard of our Atlanta house on Macon Drive. What do you think, do I look like him?

In the next photo, we were visiting my grandparents, Daddy’s parents, in Penfield, Georgia. Mama was probably taking the picture so apparently all seven of us were crammed in that little car. Along with Daddy, you see Jennifer, Vanessa, Michael, me, and Bonita.

Me, Jennifer, Daddy, and Michael at Grant Park in Atlanta.

At first, I thought this photo was taken at Atlanta’s Westview Cemetery, a place we used to go for Sunday afternoon drives. But as I write this, I realize we have the same clothes on as the photo above so it was probably taken at Grant Park as well.

In 2006, we threw an 80th birthday party for Daddy that was attended by our immediate family as well as most of Daddy’s siblings and their families. This photo of my son Chris, Daddy, and me was taken that day.

Daddy liked to eat at the Atlanta State Farmers Market Restaurant in Forest Park. This photo of me, Daddy, Bonita, and Jennifer was taken on one of our visits there. He liked to get catfish and a sweet potato.

Daddy loved azaleas and had them all over his yard. This photo of me, Daddy, and Jennifer was taken in front of the island he planted in his Riverdale front yard.

On Daddy’s 90th birthday, we gathered in the staff breakroom at the nursing home for a quick party. I say “quick” because he really didn’t want to be there that day. He had dementia and was probably confused by all the activity since it was the first time we had gathered as a family in a long time. We were able to convince him to give us enough time to watch him open cards, have cake (which he wouldn’t eat), and take a few photos. Then he was ready to go take a nap. This photo is me, Jennifer, Michael, Daddy, and Vanessa.

Daddy lives on in the heritage plants I have growing in my yard so even though he’s gone, I think of him every time I walk out my door. I see him in these hydrangeas that are blooming like crazy right now.

The Sedum Autumn Joy started with one plant and is slowly spreading. I’ll need to separate them soon before they take over. The rock in the middle of the photo came from the wooded area of the Thomas P. Janes family cemetery in Greene County, Georgia. Thomas Janes Sr. is my 2nd great grandfather. Many years ago, Daddy helped me find the cemetery, which is in the woods, in the middle of nowhere.

My Nandinas also started with one plant on the front corner of my house. We did a major remodel of our house in 2012 and had to dig it up. My husband took several sprouts and planted them in the backyard so now have two nice rows growing. We apparently didn’t dig the entire plant up from the front corner of the house either. It came back and is back in its glory. We were just recently talking about how pretty it is at Christmas time when it’s decorated with Christmas lights during the snow.

Even though these aren’t heritage flowers, I plant Lantana every year because Daddy did.

The Spider Lily in the photos below bloomed randomly last fall, surprising us. Over the years, Daddy gave me many bulbs that I brought home to Virginia and planted along the front and side of my house. We lost all of those bulbs when we did the remodel in 2012. Last September (a month after Daddy passed away), my husband called me outside to look at something before he weed wacked it. Turns out it was this single Spider Lily that popped up out of nowhere. As soon as I looked at it, I thought of Daddy and told my husband he talking to us ... telling me he’s okay.

In memory of my Daddy, Samuel Terrell Lankford. Happy Father’s Day in Heaven.

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