Monday, October 13, 2008

Sam Thomas

17 years ago today I said goodbye to my dad. Sam Thomas was a crazy, unconventional, ray of light and life to the world and to my mom and me. Known for his unconventional education methods and people skills, he was a popular figure in the school system in Abilene. After his death in 1991 an elementary school was built and named after him. Their mascot is a "Texan". So, we have all kinds of t-shirts and bumper stickers supporting the Sam Thomas Texans.

Though many people knew my father that way, I knew him as a caring father...who would take time to play hide-and-go-seek with me. He would ride go-carts with me, take me for rides on the tractor, saddle up our horse for me, go swimming with me, and let me drive his truck waaaaaay before I should have been driving. :) My dad never missed an event I was a part of. He and my mom were huge supporters and encouragers. My dad was, and still is, one of my all time favorite people.

For a long time I wondered if the raw-ness of losing him would ever fade. For those who have ever dealt with loss, you know what I mean. Everyone and everything else moves on...but you are left with a gaping hole that cannot be filled. Eventually, through God's grace, I discovered that the memories became sweeter and less painful. I discovered that I could always miss my dad and yet not suffer that raw feeling of immediate grief. Eventually, I got married and had kids. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Father's Day became fun again. And...stories live on. My kids call my dad "Poppie" and know full well all the crazy antics he participated in. He is a legend to them and they often ask about meeting him in Heaven.

Eventually, we had a son and named HIM Sam Thomas. And, seemingly like a sweet gift of grace from God, he has that crazy, funny spirit of my dad. He is definitely Sam Thomas's namesake in many ways! When I see that sparkle in his eye when he begins to make up tall tales, I see that sparkle that made my dad so much fun.


Dad, we love you. We miss you. Thank you for a life well-lived. Thank you for being such a great dad. There are so many, MANY days when I just wish I could call you or sit with you over lunch and laugh or talk heart to heart. It's not the same without you. But...I know, as you reminded me before you died, that God is good and faithful. You've helped me trust Him as my Father. Thank you. You are so loved.

10 comments:

Sarah said...

Teaching (as well as doing various and sundry other jobs) in the Abilene school district, I can tell you that your dad's legacy doesn't ONLY live on with your children. I still hear a good Sam Thomas story every once in a while.

That picture of your little Sam brings tears to my eyes! So glad your dad lives on in him...

Sheila said...

You just made me cry! I loved your Dad!!! No one else like him!! Not long ago I ran across some cards that he & your mom sent me during Take One days and following. What a precious and encouraging man. Thanks for sharing him with your friends! Love you sweet friend! Sheila

Christy said...

It is always sweet to hear you talk about your dad. He had to have been amazing!!

Lauren said...

I attended Sam Thomas Elementary during my fourth grade year. My parents live very near the school and every time we pass it, I remember you Dad. What a great man with such a wonderful rich legacy.
Lauren Cunningham

queenhp said...

Love you and you know I love your dad! I am so glad that Sam has Sam's spirit! :)

Love to you all!
Hainey

preacherman said...

I want to thank you for sharing with us this moving blog. I was brought to tears and I don't even know you. I want you to know that I enjoyed this post as well as your blog. I have added your blog to my list of favorites. I pray God's richest blessings on your life, family and ministry. I hope you have a wonderful week.

Stephen Bailey said...

The anniversary of this good-bye always falls during the Texas State Fair. I think that's so appropriate. The fair is full of wacky attractions, music, strange and wonderful people and funnel cakes; all of which remind me of Sam. Of course so do stuffed dummies, fried chicken, breast feeding, dirty showers and bad toupee's, but there's not enough space here to go into that. Thaks for sharing him with me and so many others.

MichaelPolutta said...

One of my goals in life is to be remembered by my children the way you remember your dad. Legacy ripples flowing outward more and more...

annie said...

What sweet, sweet words about your dad! I really enjoyed reading this post.

Donny - MarketingTwin #2 said...

Touching post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.