By: Sonya Francis
This article is brought to you by: Sears Hometown Store
3842 Pine Grove Ave, Fort Gratiot, 48059, Tel: 810-824-3425/ www.searshometownstores.com
My Dad, Richard Kippen, is many things to me, all wrapped up in this wonderful gift of my Father. I celebrate this great man quietly, as telling him how much I love and appreciate him daily, could embarrass him. He raised me to be a tough woman, so I better not get all mushy on him every day and disappoint him. Here are some of my favorite stories about Dad and ways to best describe him.
Dad met Mom when they were 14 years old at a church rollerskating event. They skated together all night and picked ‘Sugar Pie Honey Buns’ as their song. He said he knew Mom was, ‘The one’ that night.
‘Passionate’ that’s the best way to describe Dad!
Mom lived about 15 miles from where Dad lived, but Dad’s church was only a block away from Mom’s church. Dad suddenly didn’t miss attending church and even ‘doubled up’ and met Mom at her church.
‘Clever’, that’s the best way to describe Dad!
My father chose my name years before I was born. Dad and Mom were married a month when Dad was drafted into the Army to serve in Vietnam at age 18. Dad was flown to Seattle, Washington for basic training, in 1968.
While walking down a Seattle street, Dad saw a lighted movie marquee that shouted, “Staring Actress Sonya!” (something… he doesn’t remember the last name, just Sonya) In that moment, he knew he would return safely from Vietnam so he and Mom would have their first child, a girl, and name her Sonya.
Dad kept his promise, returned to Mom and 5 years later, I was born. Dad decided not long after I was born, it was time for a son. My brother, Scott, came along very quickly after Dad’s decision, only a year after me.
A ‘visionary’ and ‘creator’ that’s the best way to describe Dad!
Dad was the 4th boy in a family of 6. He loved to be with his older brothers. They often told him to go home, or do something else, he was too little to be with them. His brothers swam in the Black River behind their house. When they told Dad to go home, Dad instead swam in a spot just out of sight from his brothers, determined to swim better than any of them. Dad knew he was smaller, so he reasoned that he just had to get better. As a result, Dad can still swim underwater so long, we get a bit nervous.
‘Determined’ That’s the best way to describe Dad!
Dad retired from Dunn Paper Company after 40 years. He worked overtime to be able to have luxury items: a boat for family fishing trips, a motor home for family vacations, and a 4-wheeler for the hunting trips.
‘Hard working’ That’s the best way to describe Dad!
Despite working overtime, Dad was in attendance for all the times that mattered. My senior year of High School, I was a part of the Homecoming Court. Dad tried to find a co-worker to cover his shift, so he could walk with me onto the football field, but did not make it home to go with us that morning. Dad had said all along that he would be there to walk with me. Mom worried he would not make it and asked her brother to stand in for Dad.
I stood with my Uncle next to me as my name was called to walk out onto the football field. Suddenly, my arm was in Dad’s. He had said he would be there and didn’t disappoint.
‘Reliable’, yet ‘unpredictable’ that’s the best way to describe Dad!
Dad continues to live each of these describing words daily as it’s simply the wonderful man he is. He passionately honors Mom, who passed away 3 years ago, buying her favorite colored flowers to decorate their home. Dad dedicates his retired years divided between my brother, Scott and I, fixing and helping us with whatever projects we break. Dad means so much more than these stories and ways can describe. I love him and his one of a kind Dad ways so very much!
Happy Father’s Day to the many unique Dads!
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