Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My First True Love

I have heard stories from when I was little of when my daddy would come home.  He would walk in and I would yell, "Daddy's Home!" in a very excited voice and he would reach out for me and I would hightail-it the other direction to hide under a table or chair.  I don't remember this at all.  All I remember is how much I loved him.

My memories are of getting up a little bit earlier in the mornings so that I could have snuggle time with him before getting ready for school most every day through high school and even sometimes in college. I even remember after I married trying to get up so that I could go get in bed with my parents and watch the news with them when we visited them.  I remember calling him at the church from school because I forgot something or because my ear hurt and him coming to bring me what I needed.  I remember him picking us up from school in the church van because our car was in the shop!  Talk about embarrassing!!  I remember him picking up my friends and me from school my freshman year in high school and taking us to sonic for fries and a slush almost everyday!

I remember his ministry.  He was a wonderful minister to all those around him.  He loved and cared for them all.  He touched lives his whole life.  He was a positive force in this world and definitely walked in the light.

He was always there for me.  I never had to worry about being alone because he would always be there for me.  He and my mother are the best parents I could ever ask for both as parents and role models.  I remember the first years (even decade) of my marriage, he would always slip money into my hand as he told me bye after a visit.  He knew things were tight and he wanted to help.  I got turkey money at both Thanksgiving and Christmas so he could be sure that I had a great meal of turkey and noodles and mashed potatoes and dressing and all the other trimmings.  He always made sure we had what we needed and was always there when we needed him.

I can remember calling him at work when I first got married and moved away.  I called him every other day (sometimes every day) at work just to chat and he always took time to listen to me.  Eventually, mom retired and was home so my calls turned to her and that kind of stuck even after he retired but he always listened in as best he could and boy if I was late calling he let me know it!  If I missed a day he worried and would usually end up calling me to see what was up!  If Mom didn't tell him something I told her and he found out about it later, he would get on to her.  He was funny.

He loved his grandkids.  He would do anything for them.  He and my mom drove all over to be with them, they came for plays, for recitals and for birthdays.  He played with them all the time.  He told them stories and sang songs with them.  Oh, I'll never forget him singing "Hot Cross Buns" with my darling daughter and he would purposely start singing "Three Blind Mice" in the middle of it.  My dd would fuss at him about getting the words wrong and he would insist that he was singing it right.  Every time he saw her he would ask her if she had learned the words to "Hot Cross Buns" right. As she got older she would laugh and say, "Have YOU??"

I learned so much from him.  He always taught by example.  He was a giver, he was faithful, he was loving.  I remember him bringing people home from church who had asked for assistance and he would give them an odd job to do to and pay them.  I remember him taking people down to the kitchen of the church and frying them some bacon and eggs when they were hungry.  I can remember him taking people to the gas station and filling up their cars for them.

I remember the special Christmas Eve services he always had at the churches he served.  It took him away from us most of the evening but I wouldn't have had it any other way.  I loved the come and go communion he had on Christmas Eve.  It was special for every one.  You came in as families and sat in a pew until it was your family's turn.  Daddy would call your family down and greet you.  I can remember the love he shared with each family as we waited for our turn.  You could just see it.  They would all kneel together and it was very private, personal, and holy.  It was always a very special communion and I really miss that.  Not a Christmas goes by that I don't think of it.  Later in the evening there would candlelight services one early and one later.  I loved it.

I guess I could really go on and on.  He was a wonderful man, a wonderful daddy, a great friend, a loving minister and I'm pretty sure my mother would say he was a wonderful husband as well.

Ray Daniel Hennigh  May 12, 1939 - Oct. 7, 2014


  1. Sherri, this is a beautiful tribute; sweet daddy/daughter memories that have honored your daddy so well. May God bless you and fill your heart with joy.