full circle in the hundred acre wood

Daddy’s right ear had a two-inch half-moon scallop missing. I had heard whispers from my older sisters that he lost that piece of ear in a bar fight in the wild years before he met Mother and got “saved.”I would sit close to him on a slippery wooden pew at the Brandon Baptist Church on Sunday mornings.

On Sundays, he wore a suit. His face was so close-shaven and scrubbed it glowed, and when he smiled, I really could see a window into heaven.

I loved sitting close to him. Wholesome smells of blue Zest soap, starch, shoe polish and Old Spice aftershave mingled with a pleasantly masculine tobacco note. Daddy loved Orange Slice candy, and the smell of orange blossoms and sugar lingered in his wake.

His right pants pocket always jingled with keys, and his back pocket held the ubiquitous flat brown pocketbook of the working man. He would reach around to pull it out when the offertory began and open it to inventory his folding money.

Mother kept her head high, face forward. Daddy held the open wallet in his left hand, while the fingers of his right hand counted the cost. It was a moment of small drama as the deacons drew near to our row with the offering plate. Sometimes, if Daddy hadn’t pulled out a bill and the men were four rows away and closing, Mother couldn’t stand it any longer. “Wallace!” He never looked up, but came to a decision, pulled out several soft faded green bills, smoothly slid his billfold into his back pocket, sat up straight and placed the bills into the collection plate just as the deacon reached past me to get it close to Daddy.

5 thoughts on “Daddy’s Ear

  1. Fabulous.
    Thank for being here like this. You bless.


  2. Elizabeth A says:

    What a terrific slice of life, your memory.


  3. Gary says:

    My memories of my dad and church were of hus hands. Tracing the veins on the back, the creases on the front, the wrinkles at the knuckles. Fifty years later I still look at my own hands and wonder when I’ll grow up like daddy…


  4. deanna says:

    Such a great picture of your daddy. I love the little drama. I never could sit with my father in church, since he was up in the pulpit…


  5. Denny Coates says:

    This is the language of a true storyteller. I mean it. How do storytellers find their stories? I’ve wondered about this. As far as I can tell, the stories find them…


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