A Schedule In His Pocket

IMG_2280 - Version 3It’s always been hard to buy a shirt for my dad. Not because he’s persnickety about style or fabric or colors, but because he’s always been pretty picky about the size of the front pocket. Let me explain.

My dad is amazing. I’ll just shoot the Bob Walker 411 your way. He was born and raised in Macon, Georgia. His dad died of a heart attack when he (my dad) was twelve years old. He went right to work as soon as he was old enough to be hired somewhere. He graduated from Sidney Lanier High School and headed to Georgia Tech. After graduating from Tech, he headed into the Marine Corps. A stint of active duty in Japan was followed by a year in Beaufort, South Carolina, where he met my mom. (Twenty years of Marine Corps Reserves service followed that.) After Beaufort, he married my mom and moved to Dublin, Georgia. With an entrepreneurial proclivity, he started and sold multiple businesses, all the while slowly building self-storage warehouse facilities with his own hands. He did a couple rounds of being mayor of Dublin, and the city is certainly better for it. He’s a man of integrity, character, and faith.

Those are the stats. But here’s what’s most important to my mom, my sister, my brother, and me. He said “no thanks” to a number of lucrative career opportunities and promising political avenues that would have required traveling and/or moving. Instead, he chose to have himself in a position to be in deep with his family. I can’t remember a basketball game, a cheerleading event, a gymnastics event, or any award ceremony where Dad wasn’t present. As a result, he has three adult kids, three in-law children, and nine grandchildren who would quickly take down anyone who might say a negative word about “Pop.” Not that anyone would be able to think of anything negative to say…

So, back to the “buying him a shirt” thing. You see, the front pocket, in his pre-iPhone years, needed to be wide enough to hold his pen, his mechanical pencil, and his little spiral notebook. The notebook contained his kids’ ever-changing phone numbers. It also contained, during our college years, our class schedules. Later, it contained our general work schedules and numbers. He never kept up with that stuff in order to check up on us. It was all about interest. He was, and continues to be, interested in what we’re doing and what we’re interested in. He made sure he always knew how to be engaged with, and how to talk intelligently about, topics that were important to his kids, regardless of age and stage of life. How cool is that?

The pocket doesn’t have to be quite as wide these days, since the 76-year-old who has never let technology get ahead of him, now carries the sleekest, coolest iPhone and knows more about using it than any twenty-something.

But still, I always carefully check out the front pocket when buying my daddy a shirt. And, every time, I smile and appreciate him all over again.


  1. Lynn Bouchillon says

    WOW. That was beautiful and thank you for sharing! How blessed you are. It makes me want to be a better parent. I lost my dad 14 years ago but I still think of him often with all of his quirks . . . but mostly I think of how much he loved me and how much I loved him. Your blog is wonderful~ heartfelt, encouraging, and down right just a “GOOD READ”. Keep it up.

  2. Lisa Dekle says

    What a sweet post about your dad, he sounds like an amazing person! It reminded me a little of my dad who always kept a “To do” list on a small piece of paper in his wallet. I offered to buy him a planner but he liked his list. My oldest son (who does have an IPhone) still writes a shopping list for Target on a piece of paper and keeps it in his wallet, just like his granddaddy. My dad passed away in 2007, but every time my son takes his list out, I think of him. Cherish every moment with your precious dad. What a wonderful legacy he is building!

  3. Michelle McKenzie says

    Oh what a legacy of love, family, integrity and faith he has given you all.
    One of my devotionals today asked the question…Who are you a reflection of?”
    And of course we all as followers of Christ hope that we are a reflection of Him. Your blog today just brings that home all the more. You are a reflection of your earthly father. Who is so obviously a reflection of his ( your dad ) Heavenly Father. Thank You for sharing.
    Please tell your daddy Happy Father’s Day! How blessed you all are to call such a sweet man DADDY!

  4. Tifani Thompson says

    When Pastor Andy shared your dad’s pocket story in one of his series, I called my mom and sister right away. I just thought how beyond beyond amazing that was about your dad. Your dad’s pocket of love story with keeping your schedules, is such a powerful reflection of our Loving God. It is such a powerful testimony to how God designed the important role of our Earthly Fathers.

    My dad is around, but has never been involved in our lives. The chains of a father-less child-hood are being broken though, and I’m so grateful! I get to see and hear little screams and giggles as my husband walks in the door from work, I have watched my husband teach our three precious girls how to swim(they are now confident little water-bugs,,,so fun!), how to ride a bike, how to play baseball. It just is incredible!,,,,and only gets better and better.

    Happy Father’s Day to your most amazing Inspiring dad! Happy Father’s Day also to your awesome father-in-law! Happy Father’s Day to the most amazing Pastor Andy!

  5. Jimmy says

    Sandra, what a great story about a great man. You may remember I told you my mom is from Dublin and all her family. I didn’t know your dad was mayor there? Surely my mom and grandparents must have known who he was!!! Thanks for sharing!

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