My husband, Chris, is spending a week with his dad in Tennessee while his mom is out of town for a memorial service. My father-in-law is an amazing person to talk to. He’s full of wit and funny stories. He drops deep into philosophy and spiritual matters. If you’re struggling with a personal or professional issue, he has immense insight into human nature, ethics, and how decisions play out over the long term. I’m sad that I was unable to join Chris on this trip, but I also know that he loves to have one on one time with his dad.
My father-in-law is an exemplary father. I know. Everyone says things like that on father’s day. The truth is that, for most of us, our dads were flawed and (if we are lucky) they worked to varying degrees of success to override their shortcomings in order to help raise us. We take time on this day to thank our fathers for trying their best. I am particularly grateful for my late step daddy Jack Berry, for taking me on as his own.
I also know that I only came to my father-in-law as an adult, but from what my husband has told me, his father has always been the intelligent, charming, fun, dependable, discerning, articulate, loving, faithful, thoughtful man who I know today. He may have been slightly intimidating from the perspective of a small child or even a young man. Rev. James R. Green sets a high bar by example, but that is not a bad quality for a father.Early in his career in the United Methodist Church, Rev. Green noticed that he spent a lot of time presiding over funerals of men who died early from heart disease and consoling their families. He did a little bit of research and adopted a very heart healthy diet and lifestyle, decades before it was fashionable to do so. This is another example of how to be an exemplary father. Don’t die. Do your best to stick around for as long as possible. Trust me, I know that everyone’s got to go sometime. The three men who played the roll of father in my life all died in their 60’s. I loved them and would have happily spent another 20 years or more with them on this earth.
Chris is cooking for his dad this week. Healthy habits not withstanding, my father-in-law is a Southern man who likes tasty food and is very appreciative of good cooking. I’ve compiled some recipes here that I think will go over well!
SALADS, SOUPS and SIDES