Daddy’s Little Girl

By on June 10, 2014
girl boots seen peddling bike

By Lynn Hayes –

My father was the greatest dad in the world. He was quiet, and many of my friends found that straight, strong, quiet façade frightening. They thought perhaps Daddy was mean, and he was anything but. He had a strong religious core, carried the word of God with him and walked in His image. I was very, very proud of my father, but I don’t think I ever actually told him that.

Daddy would sometimes pick me up from some function, and then he’d drive around. He did have friends to see, things to do, but I was itching to get out of the car and go play, not knowing he just liked having his kids around him. Now that my parents are in Heaven, I regret every minute I did not spend talking and laughing with them. We were five children, and Dad never showed favoritism. Each one of us knew we could count on him. He once told us the story of how a teacher falsely accused him of doing something and told him to stay after school.

The teacher was into corporal punishment, apparently, and, after all the other students were gone, he took a rod and grabbed my father by the collar, ready to beat him. Daddy hadn’t done anything wrong, and, though a respectful boy, he knew he didn’t deserve a beating. He was able to wriggle out of his jacket to get free, and he ran all the whole way home. His father brought him back to school, had a nose-to-nose discussion with the teacher ending with, “Don’t you ever threaten my son again,” and that was that. Grandpa had that strength through honesty aura as well.  We knew our Dad would protect each of us in any situation.

When I was in my late teens, our high school counselor gave us the Health Class speech about girls getting yearly checkups. There was a gynecologist’s office a few blocks away, and I made an appointment. I rode my bike, filled out all the forms, and waited for the exam. I was not sexually active. This was not my first such exam; our family doctor had done this when I first began menstruating. This was my first visit to this lady, however, and I was told to take off everything and put on the paper apron.  Her examination was very painful, I remember. After, she told me to get dressed and meet her in her office. That’s where she told me I had an STD that would never go away. “There is no cure for genital herpes,” she said. She scolded me, showed me graphic pictures, and told me I’d ruined my life. I knew nothing about this disease, except what the name implied, but I did know STD meant it was contagious through sex. I was innocent.

I was devastated, and I thought I was dying. I had no future. She hadn’t taken any blood or urine samples, but she sounded so certain she was right. I came out of her office, paid my bill, and wandered out to the parking lot to look for my bike. There stood Dad. He’d already put my bike in his car, and he looked at my pale face and shaking hands and said simply, “Let’s go for a ride.”   I didn’t actually tell Daddy what this woman had said. I just couldn’t say the words. My dad just spoke quietly about little things. We finally went home, and as we got out of the car, Dad said, “Dr. Standish called me today. He’s not totally retired  – he still takes patients at his nephew’s office on the west side. I think we should all make appointments and go for checkups with him.  He’s a good guy.”

Dr. Standish examined me a week later. He said I had no such disease, and he saw nothing wrong with me at all. He warned me to be careful, as I was growing up and I needed to be smart. He never told my parents about our private conversation, and I never spoke of it again. It was simply a misdiagnosis, but it could have led to a lot of bad decisions and ill health, if it hadn’t been for my wonderful Dad. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I think of you every day, and I miss you.

 

Lynn Hayes began her career teaching elementary school in Michigan, where she was also active in her church.   Playing the organ and piano for special occasions, she often accompanied children’s pageants at school and worked with youth groups such as the Steuben Youth Band.   When not working in her garden in South Carolina, Lynn can be found tutoring and writing short children’s books about challenges kids face and possible solutions toward a happy ending.

 

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Daddy’s Little Girl