Thursday, June 12, 2008

In Keeping with Tradition

Father’s Day is not as happy for the Horton’s as it is for most families. For us, it is a peaceful, quiet day filled mostly of memories of loved ones. Father’s Day is a day of remembrance for us.

Our story starts in August 1998 when Wayne’s dad died from pancreatic cancer. Wayne was 29 years old and we had only been married for three years. The whole family from Alabama came over for the funeral and the small church was packed with many people having to stand through the service. Hollis was a great man, with huge hands and an even bigger heart. He was well respected in his community, a man of God, and dearly loved his family. A piece of all of us died that day along with him because our lives have never been the same. Hollis was the glue that held our family together and without him, life has been tough.

Fast forward to the Friday before Father’s Day 2004. I was sitting in my OB/GYN’s office being told by my favorite doctor that I had an ectopic pregnancy. Two weeks prior to that, I didn’t even know I was pregnant! I had gone to a FP doctor for what I thought was a kidney infection. Some tests were run and I was told I was pregnant. (Picture Laura Horton as Mary: “Doctor? How can this be?”) I had symptoms to the contrary. Thus began the craziness of checking HCB levels every two days and once they begin to drop, Dr. S called me in for an ultrasound. I knew something was wrong immediately because Dr. S just wasn’t herself….she looked very concerned and didn’t laugh and kid around during the ultrasound. Next, she scheduled me for a 3-D ultrasound for a “better look,” and that’s when I called my mom. I knew something was terribly wrong. So, I spent that Father’s Day weekend in the hospital for observation for a medication to dissolve the pregnancy in my right fallopian tube. If we had not caught the pregnancy in time, I could have died.

Fast forward again to Father’s Day 2005. I guess you could call this our first “happy” Father’s Day because Wayne and I had a brand new baby girl who was only about three weeks old. I don’t know what in the world made us think about driving the 65 miles to Oak Grove that Sunday….maybe we were going to visit his mom, I can’t remember, but we ended up at the cemetery. Now, you have to understand. Hollis’ grave stone is anything but modest. It is a huge capital letter “H” that you can see from the main highway if you know where to look. A BIG “H” for a BIG man! So, I happened to have my camera with me and I took some pictures of Wayne standing by his father’s grave and holding Alise. She was asleep. She didn’t know what was going on, but then and there, I promised Wayne that we would come back every year to visit his Dad, to take pictures, and to remember. And every year, we make the 65 mile trip for just a few moments of re-introducing Alise to her Papaw Horton.

This was our Father’s Day tradition 2008 (For pictures from 2006 & 2007, you can see my archived posts):

And my personal favorite:

We drove to Oak Grove this evening and after our visit to the cemetary, we met a hunting buddy of Wayne's and his wife and son at a local mom-n-pop's fish house restaurant. We had a great visit with Todd, Stacy, and John Carter. Alise and John Carter hit it off - he thought she couldn't talk because Alise was being very shy in the beginning. After we left, he finally gave her a hug good-bye and it was so sweet. Can you believe that little three year old boy said that girls were "high maintenance"? I think he's been listening to his daddy a little to much {chuckle}. I promise to post those pictures later this weekend (they are on my smaller digital camera).

As we were walking back to the car tonight at the cemetary, I asked Alise, "Sweetie, do you know why we came to Papaw Horton's grave?" Of course, she didn't, so I said, "Alise, Papaw Horton is no longer with us. He is in heaven with Jesus." She said, "With Jesus? In the sky?" I said, "Yes, baby. In the heavenly sky with Jesus." Cherish your dads this weekend. I hope you have a great Father's Day!



  1. Oh Laura, I have tears running down my face. Mr. Hollis was a very sweet man! I think I have always loved the Horton family!! We won't talk about for how long, because that would age me.......

  2. I have to go re-do my make-up because it's all gone from the tears. What a wonderful, wonderful legacy you have. The b&w picture is amazing. Also, I love the picture of her in her daddy's pj pants...hilarious!!