This weekend, we are observing Father’s Day, a day we honor our fathers or recall favorite memories of our childhood with our dads. My dad, Lucious Hord, has been gone for a number of years, but I have many fond memories of my childhood with him and his love for his wife and two daughters, Monna and me.
I remember how he sat through many piano recitals to hear his daughter be one of the last to perform her piano piece. He complained every time we had a recital, but he was right there on the front row when the time came being the proud papa.
Daddy gave me my first driving lessons even though I took driver’s education in high school and got my license then. One Saturday he asked if I was ready for a driver’s lesson. My sister, Monna, who is six years my junior, and her puppy crawled into the back seat to go along for the excitement.
We took off going west on Crawford Street and, at first, everything went OK. It had rained the day before and Lillis Lane, which now runs north and south by McDaniel School, had not been paved and was a street of ruts. Fortunately, in 1949 it saw little traffic.
Aside from a few scary seconds when I got out of a rut and did a little sliding, the road from Crawford to Morton went OK. Morton Street, before Wal-Mart and all the other businesses, was just a low-traffic street. We turned east and headed back into town.
When we were approaching Armstrong Avenue and Morton Street beside Central Ward School, Daddy told me to slow down and turn right. In my excitement, I sped up and tried to turn right.
With Daddy and Monna yelling for me to stop and the puppy barking, I drove into the middle of Central’s playground.
I think that’s when the decision was made that I should take driver’s education, and Louis Carlat took over and successfully taught me to drive.
Daddy was a big tease. He loved to aggravate in a teasing way that made you love him more. When I was small, his grandmother, my great-grandmother, Lizzie Hawkins, lived with his mother, Nannie Davis. We called her Grandma. She was born in the mid-1800s and always wore a long dress with long sleeves and a chemise that she called a “shimmy.” She also wore an apron all the time. He would rather tease grandma than eat and loved to untie her apron strings. I have many memories of her chasing him through the house with a broom with her apron flopping in the breeze.
He loved bacon and eggs and would eat them twice a day if Mother, Inez, would let him. As he aged and did a lot of cooking in the morning and at night, that’s exactly what he ate. In addition, he loved working in the front and back yards at their home at 931 West Crawford Street. He had flowers in the front and back yards and kept the grass groomed to perfection.
Homemade ice cream made in an old-fashioned, hand-cranked mixer was a real treat for Daddy when we had company. Mother mixed the milk concoctions and Daddy went to the ice house for a big block of ice. Using an ice pick, he chipped big chunks to freeze the ice cream. The real work was in cranking the old machine while keeping ice and salt packed around the ice cream can as it turned around and around. My sister was younger and smaller, so it became my duty to sit on the freezer to anchor it while Daddy cranked the lever. Towels protected my bottom, but what kept me there was the thought of a dish of his homemade ice cream. The only thing better was a dish of Ashburn’s delicacy, a favorite with everyone in town.
In my high school days, there was usually a midnight preview at the Rialto Theater and Daddy was the designated driver. With a group of my girlfriends, a trip to The Hive, Denison’s youth center, usually ended with us walking to the Rialto for the late-night show.
Daddy, bless him, would get up from his “nap” when I called for a ride home, come to town, make the drag a couple of times, then deliver my friends safely to their homes.
Daddy loved to fish below the Denison Dam, but he rarely caught anything. It became a joke in the family whenever he gathered his fishing gear, put on his fishing hat and old clothes and took off for the river. We waited for our fish dinner that rarely took place. He had fun though, sitting quietly on the river bank and solving the problems of the world.
Daddy was a Denison Yellow Jacket fan from way back, especially when his grandsons were playing. It didn’t matter if it was basketball, football or baseball, he was there if he had an opportunity to go.
Daddy was a caring person. My mother was the love of his life and my sister and I were his pride and joy. I loved him dearly and will always remember him with special thoughts, especially on Father’s Day.
Donna Hunt is former editor of The Denison Herald. She lives in Denison and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.