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17 June, 2007 / theexpositor

Fathers Day

On this Father’s Day, I am remembering the men who made such a difference in my life. Please allow me to tell you about them.

Henry Talmadge Wicker was born in Morton, Mississippi and was one of the greatest men I ever knew. He married Quincy Parish (nicknamed Tag) and they loved each other for many years. Talmadge Wicker was actually my great-uncle, Tag was my mother’s aunt. They adopted my Mom when she was just a wee girl. I grew up knowing him as Paw Wicker. He was a hard-working man, a stern man and a very gentle man. He smoked Camel ciagrettes, a pipe, and liked an occassional glass of Mogen David wine. He called me Sam, and sometimes Pete. He played baseball with me, let me steer his car, walked with me through the park, whipped my tail when I needed it and always made sure that I knew he loved me. When my parents divorced, Talmadge and Tag took my sisters and I in, gave us a home, took us to church, read the Word of God to us and prayed for us daily. I knew Talmadge Wicker for about 12 years and I will remember him and love him forever.

Francis Fleming Corley was my paternal grandfather and he was from Ringgold, Louisiana and moved to the town of Epps as a boy. He never finished high school and worked the land all of his life. It is he that I have the honor of being named after. I was the first born child of his first born. He was the one who took me to get my first hair cut, let me ride the tractor with him while he plowed a field. He gave me my first shotgun and took me hunting for the first time. He bought me my first horse, which threw me by the way the first time I mounted it, but Pop dusted me off and put me right back on. Francis Corley was the one who taught me to love God and love your family. He also taught me to laugh, to have fun and his infectious smile and laugh will stay with me forever.

Freddie Ray Corley is my Dad and along with these other two men, my hero. He is the most unassuming, humble and sensitive person I know and I love him. He was there to bandage my knee when I fell, he was there to encourage me when I was down and he was there to give me those doses of reality when my feet were not on the ground. Some of the fondest memories of my Dad are all the basketball games. He was one of the most purely talented players I have ever known. Basketball became very important to me as a young man and Dad taught me the game. And even though I became quite good at basketball, it was being with my Dad that meant the most. Playing in the backyard, traveling to and from games, stopping off at a greasy-spoon to get a burger and coke after the game, were priceless, because I was with my Daddy. To this day I can remember the day I beat my Dad in hoops for the first time. Losing that game, like so many other times, he was humble. It was, and has been, the humble spirit of my Dad that has taught me that we are imperfect people, but that we must never quit. He has taught me that even sincere, loving, strong men can sometimes fail, and that forgiveness is available.

Talmadge Wicker and Francis Corley are gone now. My Dad Freddie lives in the house my PaPaw Corley constructed, the home my Mamaw Corley built. On this Father’s Day, I simply say…..thank you.

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2 Comments

  1. cdbrauns / Jun 17 2007 18 06

    I enjoyed reading your reflections. You are blessed. Thank you for sharing.

    And, a great picture to include.

    Chris Brauns.

  2. John / Jun 17 2007 21 55

    My real dad bailed when I was four and I’ve only seen him a few times since. A step dad was able to provide some guidance during my formative years. I suppose one day, my dad and I will have the “so why’d you bail on us talk.” Until then I’m just trying to establish some sort of relationship first. When I look at my three kids it makes me more than a little upset that someone could just leave their family but it happens all too often. Now my only aim is to share with him that regardless of what one has done in the past there is forgiveness at the Cross of Christ.
    John in Missouri

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