Facing a New Decade

My father and me the day he received his bachelor's degree. I was in fourth grade
My father and me, 1970.

These last ten years have been a time of enormous creativity, exploration, adventure, and expansion for me. When I think about all of the shifts that happened in my life, I’m grateful.
Yet, at the close of this decade, my father is on my mind. I am a Daddy’s girl through and through. I am so thankful that I get to be his daughter. He is a good man. I am that my relationship with my dad is loving and free from conflict. Most of the time that I was living at home, my dad was in school. He worked a full-time job, volunteered at church many hours, and pursued higher education. It used to irk me that he would always be on the Dean’s List in college as I struggled to learn the basics. Born a sharecropper, my father’s work, and determination has afforded me a life my ancestors could not have imagined.

He is a quiet spirit and has never been big on a lot of conversation, but the last decade has been the most difficult as stroke silenced him in a way that frustrates him daily. There’s a podcast that I love to listen to because the host’s laughter reminds me of my dad. It’s been a long time since I heard my dad laugh.

I always thought he could do anything, and for me, he tried. At my urging, my dad even stopped street fights. My dad made sure that I was treated kindly and with respect by teachers and administrators. He was my sister’s AAA, but he made sure that I could fix a flat. He taught me how to ride a bike and drive a stick.

When we would visit my grandmother in Cincinnati, he would always leave her home better than he found it. Whether it was roofing, plumbing, or electrical work, he found a way to be helpful.

You’ve heard, “join the military and get your education.” My dad was the guy that helped people find the path to their dream life and career. He left home at age seventeen, without a high school diploma. Now, he has two master’s degrees, as do his three daughters, and all three of his granddaughters are college graduates too.

There are three lessons that I carry daily from my father:

*Be kind to people, and don’t be afraid of your fellow man.
*If there’s something you want to do, do it.
*Forgive folks, holding a grudge not only hurts you; it poisons the relationships around you.

My father lived a life of service, and he taught his children to do the same. The ripple effect of his life will last forever because of the life he lived.
Recently, my dad has said he’s tired and ready to move on to the other side of the realm. I’m not sure that I will see the end of the next decade, I’m prayerful that I will. As this decade comes to an end, I’m so happy and grateful to be Lori Ann Harris, the firstborn daughter of Rev. Clifford Harris.

As we begin this new decade, who can you appreciate? I would love for you to share with me. I always want you to tell me more,

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