Color Him Father

This photo is courtesy of the Wayback Machine–Christmas, 1982 to be exact. I made my social debut at the Chester Assembly in the small South Carolina town where my Daddy grew up. That’s me with the handmade silk dress (thanks, Mama!), my graduation pearls, and my grandmother’s kid gloves. The handsome man on my arm is my father, John N. Gaston, III.

There’s no denying I’m my father’s daughter–check out that hair and the facial structure! But I’m much more like him in ways you can’t spot right off. I learned to love baseball, British humor, and Bugs Bunny cartoons because of him. He taught me how to think for myself and stand my ground. He helped me through integers (he’s a computer scientist) and having to put my dog to sleep (he listened to me sob on the phone and gave me the warm reassurance that I was doing the right thing for a faithful companion in pain). Thanks to him, the white hair on my head is taking over more swiftly than it is in any of my siblings. But that’s not a bad thing. The kids at school call it my “wisdom streak,” and I got a bit of that from Daddy as well.

I inherited a couple of his vices, too, like complete impatience with bad design, thoughtlessness, and ignorance. We both have a tendency to fall in love with our own opinions and veer toward stubbornness more often than is good for us. But in the end, I hope that our shared capacity for love and forgiveness will help us ease over the bumpy spots.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. You taught me why daughters need good fathers and provided a model for the kind of father I wanted my children to have.

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