Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Daddy

Cindy & Bill Miller
July 1955
 I have attempted to write this blog several times, but it is hard to put a man's life in just a few words. Billy Joe (Bill) Miller was born in Caddo, OK on May 3, 1930, but was raised in the place he always considered to be his hometown: McKinney, TX. His parents divorced when he was a boy, so he spent a lot of time alone. A single child, with few childhood friends, meant that he was never extremely comfortable around children. He loved me (and even my brother!) but our relationship grew closer as Paul and I aged. Daddy never was one to play in our games, but he took us to Saturday morning movies (usually Westerns) and to any parade in town. He also taught me my love of reading (although both of my parents loved to read). When I was barely old enough to recognize letters, he brought home hundreds of children's books that the local library was planning to discard. I remember being surrounded by piles of books.

He excelled at being a dad who would answer and try to explain questions I had. Whether it was prejudice (my hometown is Birmingham, AL and we lived there in the days of segregation), or math (which I still don't "get" once people start tossing letters into the mix!), he respected my questions and tried to answer on a level he thought I could understand. My favorite was following a film on STDs at a 7th grade assembly that Daddy attended with me. On the way home, his only comment was, "Always remember: You are ALLERGIC to penicillin." :)

Billy Joe Miller
US Navy
Daddy was very patient with some of my areas of rebellion. He was career Navy, and I protested Vietnam. He taught me that it was okay to object, but to continue to respect my country and the ones who were serving in the military and fighting the war. No matter what I would say, he would calmly put it all into a logical way I couldn't argue with. Sometimes it was a simple, "Okay, but, just wait until you're 18." It's no fun to argue with someone who stays calm and doesn't forbid something...I could live with "Wait". It was enough that he listened without flying into a rage...or bursting into gales of laughter.

 He wasn't perfect, and we did have a few conflicts---we were too much alike for those not to arise from time to time. When he would say to me, "Cindy, when the Lord gave out patience, you were back over standing in the 'stubborn' line for a double portion!", I would think, "...just like my father." Fortunately, we were alike in temperament and had the same sense of humor, so we could not stay angry for long.

Doyce & Bill Miller
He was a man of convictions, and stuck with them. He was intelligent, hard-working, patriotic, didn't use foul language, rarely drank (I could probably count on one hand how many times I remember seeing him with an alcoholic beverage), treated everyone with respect and dignity, openly prayed before meals and took his family to church. He loved the Lord, and absolutely adored my mother! (I understand Ephesians 5:25 perfectly due to my parent's relationship.)

Miller family
Aug. 1964
I don't know who wrote the following, but it makes me think of my dad:

Real Men, Love the Lord.
Real Men, Pray.
Real Men, Read their Bible.
Real Men, Regularly go to Church.
Real Men, Live a Godly Example.
Real Men, Love their Wives.
Real Men, Spend Time and play with their Kids.

 Deuteronomy 6:4b-7a says, "The LORD is the only God. You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Always remember these commands that I give you today. Be sure to teach them to your children."  Thanks, Daddy, for teaching me these things!! Because of your obedience to the Lord, I get to live forever with both my earthly father and my Heavenly Father!! You went Home on June 16, 1985 (ironically, that year it also happened to be Father's Day), but I know you are waiting on me to arrive at the appointed time.  (I cut it close a few times, but I usually made it home by curfew. Right?)

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