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When I was a little girl, my daddy was a giant. I would follow him to the garden, the mailbox, or the field and try very hard to put my footprints in his.

This was next to impossible due to his long stride and the fact that he never lagged around.

No matter where we were, in a crowd, a strange place, or even in the dark of night, I always felt safe and secure with my daddy.

As I grew older and became interested in boys, it was my daddy who screened all those who came calling.

To my embarrassment he would inevitably ask them, “Who is your daddy and mama?” It was only much later that I realized he was only trying to protect my reputation and try to teach me the importance of building character.

As well as being firm and protective, he could also be very sensitive and understanding.

For example, in my teen years we lived on an unpaved road which got very bad after a good rain.

On the weekend, my daddy would usually have to hitch up the mules to the wagon to pull the cars out to the paved road after the suitors came to see my sister and me.

Having been born in the 1800’s, my daddy learned to work at an early age before the age of mechanical machinery.

He was a farmer all of his life, tilling the soil, and working real hard to provide for our family which included my mother, four brothers, and a sister.

The only time he rested, with the exception of Sunday, was in the middle of the day when he would water the mules, wash up and come in for mid-day lunch which then we called dinner.

After lunch he would take a break on the front porch and that is when he would always ask me to get the comb and comb his hair.

Looking back, I think that is the only relaxation my daddy had and if the mules had not needed the rest he would have probably plowed on through the entire day.

My daddy had hardly any formal schooling but the lessons that he taught me were priceless.

He taught me to be unselfish by sharing whatever we had whether it was fresh tomatoes from our year round garden, a jug of milk, or just plain good hospitality.

He taught me integrity by never fibbing to me and expecting the same in return.

He taught me character through example and to protect it even when it meant going the “long way around” sometimes.

He taught me that we have an inner strength to take us through the difficult times and this is called faith which has been proven many times over.

Having lived through the depression years, he taught me to be frugal and now my children laugh at me for washing and reusing zip-lock bags and saving the leftovers.

He taught me that love is not lip service but service.

As I am older now, I know that my daddy is a big part of me because so much of him is in me.

The memories of him become more vivid each day as I find myself remembering and doing the things he showed me how to do and trying to instill many of his traits in the lives of my children.

Definitely my daddy was the most influential person in my life. Although he was never convinced that man walked on the moon, I thought he hung it.

Even today, I am still trying to put my footprints in his.

We didn’t call him “Big Daddy” for nothing. This was written as part of an English assignment to tell about the most influential person in your life.

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