My Dad. Glen Edward Kinnard

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                                                                                                           Glen Edward Kinnard

My Dad passed in September. I shared the following at his funeral:

My Dad was my hero. I loved him beyond words. But I want to try to find a few words to honor him.

Dad loved God, his wife, his boys, his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He loved the Graymere church, Maury County, golf, football, and Cracker Barrel.

Dad loved to talk and tell his stories. And retell his stories. And retell his stories. He loved people. He was generally positive and upbeat. He rarely complained. He expressed his gratitude for others. To me, he was easy to be around.

Dad loved his mom, Carrie Mae, his dad, Horace, and his little sister, Ruth. He was a family man.

He loved growing up in Columbia, Tennessee.

My Dad was a great athlete. He loved playing football. Once he kicked a 72 yard punt. Bill, Mike, and Doug, my brothers, got those football genes. Dad could crush a golf ball. I loved going to the range and watch his drives sail through the night air. Dad won local golf tournaments. I think Mike and his children got those golf genes.

When his boys were young, Dad gave up golf to be at church with his boys. He also stopped smoking. He chewed on toothpicks most of his life to overcome the habit. I used to chew on toothpicks, not because I smoked, but because that’s what dad did.

He was part of “the greatest generation,” a generation known for hard work and sacrifice. Because of a knee injury playing football, he didn’t have to fight in WW II, but he signed up anyway. He joined the Marines. He shipped out from San Diego to the Pacific on the James K. Polk. Dad said he laughed when he walked up to the ship and saw its name, because he grew up around the corner from the James K. Polk home in Columbia. He re-injured his knee in the Marines. Not while fighting, but while playing football on a navy carrier. He used to love wearing his Marine cap around Columbia. Strangers walked up to him and thanked him for his service.

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                                                                                                         My Dad’s WWII Marine Uniform 

Dad loved my Mom. He adored her. He’d come home at the end of the day and give her a kiss and ask her about her day. He expressed gratitude for her cooking, for her house work, and for her watching the boys during the day. He often did the dishes. I never saw Mom and him fight or argue.

When Mom passed, I wasn’t sure how he’d do. But he did okay. He passed his love for Mom onto his grandchildren. He attended their sporting events, often sitting away from the stands in his car because his knee wouldn’t allow him to climb the steps of the stands. When we talked he’d tell me about how each grandchild was doing at their sport. He loved bragging about his grandkids.

He loved his boys. Everything was about his boys. He’d say-I sure have four fine boys. He’d add-and each of them have fine wives. He loved our wives. My wife, Leigh, called him by his nickname, Slick. She loved my dad as if he were her dad. She’d listen to his stories. He said he picked her out for me on one of his trips to Freed-Hardeman College. He probably did. He always wanted the best for his boys.

He could tell stories. One story was about how he met his wife, Anne. Which would lead to another sorry and another story, but somehow Dad would end up where he began-And that’s how I met your mother. Like a perfect circle. I was always amazed at how he did that.

My Dad worked hard all his life. He was a cobbler. He repaired shoes. He and my Uncle George owned Champion Shoe Shop, a short walk from here. He worked from 7:00 to 5:30 six days a week. That’s over sixty hours every week. He stood on his feet most of the day and hammered heels on shoes and boots. One of his favorite lines was, “I fixed more soles (souls) than any preacher in Muary County.”

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My Dad’s work hammer. Notice the groove in the wooden handle that was caused by years of years of Dad hammering on shoes.

He gave me his hammer. He used it so long, his thumb wore a groove into the wood. This is how he provided for his family–hammering on shoes one tap at at a time until over time he had worn a groove into the wooden handle of his hammer.

I loved going to work with my Dad. I still love the smell of leather. I’d wake up early to drive to work with him. He’d wake me up around 6:30. Every morning my Dad would sit at the kitchen table, eat a bowl of all-bran cereal, and read his Bible and go over his Sunday school lesson. I’d sit opposite him eating Coco Puffs and stare off into space. He never pressured me to read the Bible with him.  He simple set the example. And without saying a word, Dad taught me the importance of Bible study.

My Dad took one week off of work each year for vacation. Five days a year. For his one-week summer vacation he volunteered to be a counsellor at Maury Christian Bible Camp. This was not an easy way to spend one’s summer vacation. My Dad would sleep in a bunk inside a cabin in the heat and humidity of the Tennessee summer watching over ten to twelve adolescent or pre-adolescent boys who were out-of-control. I know because I was was of those kids. So were by brothers. My Dad volunteered for camp because he wanted his boys to go to church camp, and he wanted to be with them at church camp.

When we were cub scouts, Dad became the Scout Master. When we joined little league, dad became the Official Scorekeeper. This was one way that he could be there for all our games.

When I was just old enough to read, I went on evangelistic Bible studies with Dad. My Dad was the personal work deacon at church. That means he set up Bible studies with people. When he did those studies, I’d tag along.

My Dad showed Jules Miller filmstrips to teach the Bible. My job was simple. When it was time to advance study, I’d turn the film strip. My Dad also used Mid McKnight’s Bible charts to teach people. My job with the Bible charts was a bit more challenging. While Dad was explaining a verse, I would look up the next verse and be ready to read it. Since I could barely read, this was a tough job. During those years of partnering with my Dad in these Bible studies, I learned my way around the Bible. I also learned to love the lost. My Dad taught me by example.

I want to express my gratitude to my brother Bill. If Dad were here he’d say, “Bill has taken good care of me.” I never talked to Dad when he didn’t say that. Bill has been amazing. Dad had to wear tight, knee-high leggings to help the circulation in his legs. Bill went over to my Dad’s house ever morning to put on those socks, and he went over ever night to take them off. He bought dad his groceries, took him to the doctor, and paid his bills.

Bill’s one of the good guys. He was not only a good son to my Dad, he was also a good friend.

My daughter wrote this about her Grandpa Glen, “I have always dreaded this day and teared up just thinking about it. Grandpa Glen was so special to me. He was always my favorite grandparent because he was just such a special man. I loved his gentle-spirit, his deep love for his family (especially his wife), his love and devotion to God, and his service to those around him. He was such an inspiration. I wish he could have met my boys.”

I’m so grateful that I arrived back home in time to say goodbye to Dad. I told him I loved him. He said, “I love you, too.” I’ll cling to that last “I love you, too” for the rest of my life. I expressed my gratitude to him for all his sacrifice over the years. I was there when he slipped away to be with God. It was so peaceful.

My Dad used to ask, “When you coming to see me?” I’d usually answer, “I don’t know dad, but when I get a chance, I’ll come.” I can hear him now, “When you coming to see me?”

“I don’t know Dad. But get my room ready. Someday soon I’ll be there. And I’ll sit and listen while you tell your stories. And we will hit some golf balls and throw the football.”

I always planned on making it to heaven. Now I have extra incentive to get there.

“I love you Dad. I’ll see you when I can.”

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A few of my Dad’s items: From left to right beginning with the back row, Graymere Tournament golf trophy, 8mm camera he used to film Christmas mornings, his picture above my Mom’s Bible, his Marine Corp belt, a shoe stretcher from his shop, my Mom’s measuring spoons, his Long Rifle award from the Boy Scouts of America, his cobbler’s hammer, and a private’s strip from the Marines. 

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