About 20 years ago…while I was in the Navy…my mother went through a tough season. During that time, while I was in California, she met a gentleman that cared for her deeply. I met him when I got out of the Navy and came home. His name is Andrew. I call him Drew…but to my girls and my niece and nephews…he is “Pappy,” and he has been one of the greatest men in our lives. He has been one of the greatest friends I could have ever asked for.
When Drew and I met, I was not a believer…as a matter of fact…I was a loudmouth-hyperactive-punky-ignorant-know-it-all that, if it were possible, would test the limits of the patience of the Lord Himself. I have always wondered what his initial thoughts about me were…because they must have been something along the lines of “what’s the deal with this kid?” But that was not ever the way he treated me. He has always exercised absolute patience with me…even to a fault. I can only recount one time in the last 20 years when he even raised his voice at me a little…and he was right to do so…yet he still apologized very quickly.
Since the day my girls were born, he has been an integral and important part of their lives. He has been very much a grandparent to them and loved them as his own. As a matter of fact…blood or not…they are his grandchildren. They would fight for that truth and he would lay down his life for any one of us. The children have always loved to see “Pappy.” Drew has his quirks…and if I ever go anywhere with him, I know ahead of time that the schedule is out the window. He doesn’t get into a rush and he doesn’t cut corners. He simply refuses to let the clock be his master. If that means that he works in his garden until midnight wearing a headlamp, then so be it.
Several years ago, Drew decided to follow Jesus. I had the most awesome privilege of baptizing him soon after and he has been digging in deeper ever since. He now is a Sunday School teacher and a Deacon in the church and beyond all of that…he’s a guy that I know will always be there for any of us.
Drew came along when my mother needed him…and has always been the most faithful and humble of men. We have had a lot of fun together…most of the time at my mother’s expense (sorry Mom). I’ve learned so many things from him. One of the movies I had watched years ago was “A River Runs Through It.” I don’t know if I had ever paid attention to fly fishing before seeing that, but it was such a beautiful form of fishing that I was immediately interested. Apparently, he was paying attention to my interests…and he went out and bought the gear for me to get started…and I learned to love to fly fish. I have never been a hunter. I’m not against it, I’ve just never done it…never learned. From the time my girls were babies, they have seen his hunting gear and the trophies from his hunts…as well as eaten the meat…and then when my oldest became a certain age, she started asking about going hunting with “Pap.” I spoke to him about it and he was immediately on board with the idea. I brought her to his house and together, we taught her how to shoot a shotgun so she could go turkey hunting. The second year, she killed her first bird and I’ll never forget how proud he was…as he stood there beaming with an impossible wide grin. We took the bird back to his house and he showed her what the next steps were. She took in every word like she always does…because when Pappy speaks the girls listen attentively. There is nothing I wouldn’t trust him with and his word is pure.
Drew is not my dad. He’s not any form of blood relative (in human terms), but he’s very much a part of our family. He is irreplaceable. My dad commented to me a little while back how highly he thinks of Drew. I said, “Yeah, he’s a good man…one of the best I’ve ever known,” and those were not trite words. That’s the truth. He is one of the men in my life that I know I can absolutely count on to help me with anything in the world I need and no matter what I do, He loves me as his own.
Drew, thank you for being a wonderful stepfather, friend, example, grandfather, and brother in Christ.
I absolutely love you.
Happy Father’s Day.