Author Tim Russert said his first book, Big Russ & Me turned out to be an invitation for sons and daughters to talk about their fathers. His latest book, Wisdom of Our Fathers, contains the letters that those children wrote, telling about their memories and the advice they received from the fathers they loved, grew to love, or sometimes realized they didn't love. It's a tearjerker for those of us who are sentimental and lost our fathers years ago.
Since my father died almost fifteen years ago, and I started this book on Father's Day, it was particularly poignant. I couldn't reach out and tell him once again how much he meant to me. One chapter in this book was entitled "Daddy's Girl." As the oldest, I certainly was a daddy's girl. The pictures on my first birthday point that out as I followed my father all around the farm. A couple essays mentioned the few times the writers saw their father cry. My father cried on the day I was Valedictorian of my high school class. For four years I worked for that day because my father told me my freshman year he expected me to be Valedictorian. It was close, but the day I came home and announced I had the best GPA and would be Valedictorian, and I did it for Dad, I was so proud. And, when he met me on the football field after my graduation and my speech, he hugged me and he cried.
Each of Russert's chapters brought back memories of my father, Randall Growel, and I could have answered each chapter. I'm grateful the book brought back wonderful memories. Most of all, I'm grateful that I had such a wonderful father.