I don't suppose one ever gets too old to remember what it was like to have — or not have — a loving father in his or her life.
Here I am, in the winter of my own life, and I still remember my dad, who died in 2000. My time with him was short — my mother ran away from him, taking me and my baby brother Adam, with her when I was 5 and my brother was 2.
A strange thing about my dad: while he was a heavy drinker and a wife-beater, heaping pain and misery on our mom, he was always kind and sweet to us. I have warm memories of sitting on his lap early in the morning, as he sipped his first cup of of coffee while Mom made breakfast for him. It's funny how I can still remember those times.
I remember other times, too. Uglier times, when he came home drunk, not looking at all like my handsome dad, and picking a fight with my mom. I remember the screams coming from my mouth.
Time passed. Mom moved to Miami to find a better life for us. My brother and I grew up, never forgetting the dad we left behind in Williston, Florida. We spoke of him sometime. Not having Dad around seemed harder for my brother. I can still see the sadness in his eyes whenever his friends spoke of their dads and the things they did together.
Still, I am amazed how the Lord always knows what we need. And he placed men like the late Lee Mikell in my brother's life as he entered his teenage years. Mr. Milkell had a son, Alfred, who was my brother's age. The two of them were best friends. So, Mr. Mikell took my brother as his "other" son.
During the summers when Mr. Mikell took his annual trip to New York, he always asked Mom if my brother could travel with them. It was a double blessing to Mom; my brother wouldn't be idle during the summer and he was in the presence of a gentleman who taught him how to be a man.
Years later, when Alfred was only 25, he died from injuries suffered in an auto accident. My brother was in the Air Force at the time, serving out of the country. It was my job to tell him the sad news in a letter.
We never have forgotten Mr. Mikell, and how he stepped in to be a surrogate dad to a young boy who desperately needed positive male guidance.
We never forgot our dad, either, and pursued a relationship with him. I remember one Father's Day, my brother and I packed up our families and drove to Eatonville, Florida, where he was then living, to spend the day with him.
Our visit was a little awkward. Over the years, we tried hard to let Dad know we still loved him and and had forgiven him. But it was hard for Dad to forgive himself. So on that Father's Day — the last we would spend together — Dad couldn't look up during dinner. He didn't want us to see his tears.
On this Father's Day, I am so happy that I could forgive my dad for all the tears he caused Mom to shed and for my own young tears. It's what love does.
I am so thankful to have been blessed with wonderful men in my life, who mentored me and steered me in the right direction, from teachers and ministers to family friends.
So dear Dads, as we approach your special day, I salute you and pray God's blessings on you. Happy Father's Day.
Father's Day service
The Church of God Tabernacle (True Holiness) at 1351 NW 67th St. in Liberty City will have its annual Father's Day worship service at 10 a.m. Sunday. During the service, the oldest father in church, the father with the most children in church and the Father of the Year will be honored.
The annual service is a tradition at the church where Bishop Walter H. Richardson, 95, has been the spiritual father of the congregation for 53 years.
Everyone is welcome.
Warm congratulations to the four people who will be ordained into the "Sacred Order of Priest" at 11 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Cathedral by the Right Reverend Peter Eaton, Bishop of Southeast Florida.
They are: the Reverends David Casey, Marcea Paul, Gregory Seme, and Sharon Williams. A reception will follow the service.
Also at Trinity: "Yoga at the Cathedral" classes will meet from 6:15-7:30 p.m. Mondays, unless otherwise announced, at Trinity Cathedral. The class is open to people of all ages and faiths or not faith tradition.
For more information, contact Simon Strong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Fireside series
The Baha'is of Miami will host their monthly Community Fireside series at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Miami Baha'i Center, 9300 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 209. This month's topic is "Stages of Seeking."
"Although the topic 'Stages of Seeking'" might suggest a discussion of the mystic stages of journey of the soul, our intention is to have a down-to-earth, real consideration of the practical, daily, operational stages encountered by a seeker who investigates a different religion, philosophy, or way of life," said Thomas Carsey of the center.
"For example, one view is that there are four stages (of seeking): curiosity, evaluation, membership, and acculturation. But there may be other ways to describe the journey," Carsey said. "Perhaps the most productive approach is for people to tell their own stories."
Participants will have the opportunity to share their personal experiences and observations to help everyone understand the process. The meeting is open to all and it's free.
Also, at 10:30 a.m. June 24, the center will host its Community Devotional. All are welcome.
'People Matter Fest'
Nationally syndicated radio host Papa Keith, radio station 103.5 "The Beat," and Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime will host the second annual Liberty City music festival, "People Matter Fest," from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday at Gwen Cherry Park, 7090 NW 22nd Ave.
The event is an initiative to implement a countywide, 24-hour cease fire campaign to decrease gun violence in Liberty City. The event is being hailed as "a day of fun, food, peace and unity in the community" and will feature such guests as Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat and Bryan McKinney of the Miami Dolphins. Musical guests are scheduled to include Rick Ross, Trick Daddy, Sam Sneek, Kent Jones and Captain Crunch from the Sugar Hill DJs