A Tribute to Our Fathers

A Tribute to Our Fathers

Shelia's Dad

My Dad (Henry Warren Hopkins) and I 

This picture is one of my earliest memories of my Dad.  
We are standing in front of our house on 12th Street in Longview, Texas. 
He had just come home from work (he was a police officer). He was one of the first policemen to ride 
the new motorcycles the department
had gotten.

I remember his hands being rough from many years of hard work (a lot of it manual labor and carpentry 
which he loved to do), but I also
remember how gentle his touch was when he held me.

I look at my hands now and see his.
He had arthritis and his knuckles were swollen in later years -
just like mine are now.  It never seemed to stop him.
My mother had long beautiful fingers - 
great for playing a piano,
but I got my father's hands - 
which were like his mother's too.

I could ask for no more in life than to not only have hands that look like my dad's,
but that I would have touched as many people with 
love and kindness 
as he did in his lifetime.

He cared about people and they knew it. 

Arville's Dad - Malcolm Dewitt Earl

(from left to right)
Me, Terry, Mom, Dwight, Dad and Derrell

Remembering my dad on this Father's Day brings to mind
 so many stories.  
He never talked much about the traumatic experience of his ship going down after being hit by a torpedo, 
and his survival and rescue.
He seemed to prefer, instead, to talk about life 
in a different context -
that of growing up on the farm.

He talked about the adventures along the river 
with guys in the gang - 
like Felix and Neeley and Charles and a few more,
of his horse named Dolly,
 of borrowing money to buy his new tractor,
 and of things that happened
 while "rough-necking" on the drilling rig 
or working on the pipeline crew.

Then there was church life at Cross Roads, 
Bethany, and Greenwood
(all Baptist churches where he was a member) 
which made up a whole other sequence of historic events.

These were his real-life stories and those he most frequently told.

To my dad, no remembrance was more cherished, 
than growing up together, 
being childhood sweethearts,
 and making a life together with my Mom -
A shared life that produced four sons.
(pictured above)

As I remember Dad today, I hope that I can exhibit some of that same honorable character 
that made him the man that he was.
My Dad -
for whom I am very grateful and 
of whom I am very proud.


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