|Amazing Grace Church
|Father's Day Letter ©
|June 19, 1998
W. F. Stemmons
5522 E. 97th St.
Tulsa, OK 74137
Since this is one of the last Father's days that I will be in the USA, I thought that I would let you know that there are some things for which I am grateful to you. You may or may not remember, but these are indelibly emblazoned upon my memory, along with the more obvious unpleasant memories that occasion our lack of communication these last five years.
First of all, thanks for picking out mom. She has been the strength of the family for all these years and instilled in all of us children the values that we have today. She must have seen value in you for her to have married you. She is a bastion of stability and love. Thanks for my mother. Thank you that we were always fed, clothed, and sheltered.
Thanks you for serving in the armed forces. This example has now been passed on to your grandkids as something that all men in this country should do.
Thank you that you were not a drunk or a lowlife criminal. I have friends that have suffered through that kind of nightmare, and I don't envy them. I never saw you drunk. Thanks for that.
Thank you for the family vacations. I remember that you were often not with us when we went, but it was you labor that paid the bills, and it is pleasant to remember those times in Colorado. I remember that you once climbed up the side of a sheer cliff to rescue me when I was stuck and couldn't get down by myself. Thanks for that.
Thanks for having the guts to start Thrifty when you had "about 20% of what you should have had to start such a business". Thanks for letting me be part of that. It didn't work out like I thought it should, but, even so, it was one of the greatest times in my life.
Thanks for buying me that great Schwinn bicycle for Christmas one year. It was the best bicycle on the block and I could ride up curbs with it because of that big shock absorber in the front. Mom sold that bike in a garage sale while I was in the service...tough to forgive!
Thanks for paying half on that old 1953 Chevy that we had to push off of Uncle Johnny's lot. I learned a lot about fixing a car when it was broken, and I had a great time learning to drive in that car.
Speaking of learning to drive, thanks for never berating me when I wrecked that 1963 Chevy Impala Custom Coupe out on the beeline one Sunday morning. I fell asleep at the wheel trying to make it back to Tulsa from Dallas, in time to get a little nap and make it to work at Thrifty by 1PM that day. I know that you were self-insured, and it must have been devastating financially...it sure would be to me now. Thanks for that.
Thanks for coming to Cape May to take me to the World's Fair after my boot camp. That was incredible.
I am so very sorry that we couldn't have had a good relationship all these years...you were my hero for so long. In order to deal with it, I have had to dwell on the negative things to convince myself that you were not worthy of my love and adulation, and you weren't. But neither was I. The hatred that I have felt for you for so long was really just a perverted form of love. I know this, because if I didn't care, I would just have forgotten you and gone on. But I couldn't. So here it is: I love you, Dad. Have a great Father's Day.
If I could have one thing more from you it is this: that you ask Jesus Christ into your heart before you pass on so that he can sort all of this out when we get to heaven. Otherwise, I'm sure that I'll never see you again, and that gives me pain. Please just do it.
Love from your son,
John Stemmons, Rising Sun
School, Fujisawa, Japan - c2003 Go-Yen