I have been blessed with an exceptional father. He is faithful, hardworking, patient, deeply caring and sensitive. He has learned to cleverly mask his caring and sensitive traits as well as the uninvited emotions that come with them with a great deal of silliness, sarcasm and humor, so unless you know him well, you might miss his tender side! Since Father’s Day is Sunday, I’m going to share three photos and a few details and thoughts that surface when I look at them and think about my Dad.
Parley Briggs Hall is the second son of Charles Leness and Addie Dunkley Hall. He was born in Bellingham, Washington on January 1st, 1938. Grandma once told me that she swallowed a big tablespoon of cod liver oil the night before my Dad was born, hoping to induce and speed up labor, so she could become the “first mother” of the year. This would mean the local newspaper would publish of photo of her and her new baby. She did give birth on New Year’s Day, but my Dad was sadly not the first Bellingham baby born. In grade school I thought it was pretty cool that my Dad and Jesus were born in the same place!
My Dad’s older brother is Brent and his younger siblings are Glade, Suzanne, Drew and Mark. One thing I greatly admire about my Dad is that he has always worked to remain close to his siblings, in spite of inevitable ups and downs and the kinds of personal choices that can easily tear at the seams of family relationships. My Dad is never judgmental. I have truly never heard him pass judgment or make a comment to slight, mock or belittle one of his family members. I sat down with my Uncle Brent a couple of years ago and he told me that my Dad has always had a sense of humor, but that he is also quite serious. He could absolutely be the class clown, but he never joked about or poked fun at serious or sacred things. My grandfather was a busy, traveling business man for most of my Dad’s life, so Dad was often tasked with responsibilities at home. My Aunt Suzanne told me that when their parents would leave for the evening or on a trip, big brother Brent would immediately take over, change the rules and instructions left by their parents and start making commands. My father then became the peace maker, who held the fort together until things returned to normal.
More recently, a recurring interaction and conversation I have with Dad is over technology. My parents are still amazed at email and I think as hard as I try to prove otherwise, this may remain their level of mastery. I never realized how confusing an iPad can be until I gave them one for Christmas and when I encouraged my Dad to purchase a Mac desktop computer, I became the help line. There are simply too many updates and apps and new features and notifications to explain, let alone remember. Add to this, someone (well-intentioned I'm sure) told Dad a long time ago not to trust pop-ups as they can include viruses which will destroy your hard drive. If I could have one dollar for every time Dad has resisted my instructions and asked, “Are you sure this isn’t a virus?” I would be wealthy. Argh!! I love this picture that I captured, just after I helped my Dad publish a fun 4th of July moment to Instagram. I was wearing my Apple watch, which immediately showed me the notification that the @gghall account had been updated. My Dad will often remark with awe, as he did then, “You mean to tell me that your watch knows what my phone is doing? How is that possible?!” It's very likely that my children will be equally dismayed at my technological insufficiencies. Now if I can just convince Dad to keep his cell phone turned on so he can actually receive calls ...
And, speaking of frequent conversations, I say to Addie all the time, “Grandpa is just a big tease!” I need to reassure her that he won’t really cut her hair, or wear her dress, or eat her sandwich, or sleep in her bed. Teasing is his way of showing love. There were countless times he teased me to tears when I was a girl. Luckily my Mom was always there to explain his veiled concern and true intent. His teasing actually proved to be pretty helpful in building up some immunity to insensitive and mean people. When it comes to his grandchildren, Dad has a vivid imagination and can be very playful. He generally refers to them with a nickname or at least pretends to forget their real names. He is a storyteller at heart and makes up big stories, or at least makes stories extra BIG when telling them. I remember once when I was probably 4 or 5 that he and Uncle Glade had my completely convinced that I would go to bed and wake up a cow. I heard him on the phone with the farmer, making all the arrangements. I was going to be a chocolate milk making cow. Fortunately I would not have to go live on the farm. Those arrangements were made as well. Mom would be making my bed bigger, so that I could remain living and sleeping at home! The next morning, when I wasn't a cow, my Dad made another call to the farmer, complaining and then finally cancelling the order!
Learn More About StoryWorth
I know my time with my parents is winding down and I while I'm making an effort to recall and record my memories of them, what I really want is greater access to their perspectives and personal stories. This is where StoryWorth comes in. If you’re not familiar with their awesome subscription, I would encourage you to visit the about page at storyworth.com and LEARN all about it, then ... consider giving your Dad (or any older relative) the gift of REALLY EASY storytelling. Once you’re signed up, you and/or your relative will receive one question a week via email. All they have to do to record and permanently preserve family stories is reply to the email. Did you catch that? This service is completely email based. No passwords required. All my Dad has to do is reply to an email and IF he wants to login, all he needs is his email address. Even my tech-challenged father can do this! As he and my mom respond to questions, my StoryWorth account archives their answers. I also get an email with their response, so I can easily read it, but I don't have to save or print it—it's archived automatically, and StoryWorth sends out the questions. I don't even have to think about that. I can create specific questions if I want to, but otherwise the process of collecting priceless memories is 100% seamless. I can easily log into our family stories via the website OR by using the mobile app. From my account, I can read what Dad and Mom have written, edit and/or add to it and then effortlessly share it with others. You also have the option of turning archived stories into eBooks for printing, or into beautifully bound books that become family heirlooms. Super cool!
If you need a great and meaningful Father’s Day gift, click HERE to learn more and set up your own StoryWorth account. Note: I am receiving a small affiliate payment for subscriptions ordered through my link. I am very careful to promote only products and services that I personally use and appreciate.