In case you didn’t know, I am a Daddy’s girl. I will always think of him as the man who did no wrong. Daddy was the first to admit he was far from perfect, and that is EXACTLY what made him perfect in my eyes.
In fact, that description is barely adequate. He was the best role model I could have ever imagined. He was not only my father, he was my mentor and my friend.
This post is dedicated to all those millions and millions of self-proclaimed Daddy’s girls out in the world (specifically you Monica). I would like to be the first to welcome you to the exclusive club where girls of all ages put their precious daddy’s on pedestals higher than the tallest mountain in the world.
You just need to know one thing. I’m President for Life. It was a unanimous vote….. of one. Get over it.
In all seriousness, I will share my title with anyone and everyone who is a Daddy’s Girl – or Boy for that matter. I know exactly how you feel because I would have taken a bullet for mine.
If you don’t believe me, you are a poser and cannot be a member of this club. Regardless, the relationship I had with my Daddy is PRICELESS.
P.S. If you don’t eventually figure out what I just did there, then you will also be excluded as a member of this club.
The Garden Guru
Daddy found me on my knees in the dirt planting impatiens early on in my gardening career. I lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas and at the beginning of March, the big box stores put their gorgeous annuals out in fabulous colorful displays.
Being young and naive, I thought that meant it was definitely time to plant. It was not…..
Daddy made me dig up every single flower and take them all back. He then told me “Go find a pecan tree.
When you see a tiny bit of green at the very top of that pecan tree, that’s when you will know it’s time to plant. Because, Jennifer, Mother Nature will rarely fool a pecan tree.”
He was the best letter writer EVER. I saved every single one. I received a play by play of the weather, a Far Side card, and/or a $2 bill at least once a week throughout my college years.
Daddy wrote letters to his friends as well. Sometimes, he cut cartoons out of the paper and mailed them. His favorite was a Garfield cartoon “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine”.
(If anyone reading this kept their cartoon cut out, I can not tell you how grateful I would be for a photo of it.)
Garfield’s phrase made him giggle like a little girl. When you worked with him, he cut the cartoon out and sent it to you on different occasions. Daddy reminded everyone that his inventory was always better because he had a way of taking yours right out from under your nose.
The One Phone Call Away
When I wasn’t reading his letters, I wore his toll free number out nearly every day. Sometimes, twice a day. No matter what was going on, he took my call. The rare times he couldn’t, Mrs. Carolyn or Mrs. Lillian came back on the line.
“Jennifer, he’s got something going on. But, he told me to tell you he will call you back in just a few minutes.”
Daddy always called me back. That number is burned into my brain. I am tempted to give it out so anyone who reads this can call and ask to speak to Mr. Price.
Everyone should have had the opportunity to receive a Price Holmes pep talk. But, I won’t give out his number because that would be obnoxious. So, here’s 10 of the 11 digits. (1-800-421-5*44)
Sometimes, Daddy called me instead and kept me on the phone for an hour. He would tell me some complicated business deal he had made. Or, sometimes he would tell me about the most perfect piece of property he had purchased before anyone else knew it was available.
He was always planning for the big, bright future he envisioned for all of us. Daddy even planned for the little ones he didn’t know yet.
I was a senior in college when I asked him why he told me all this stuff when I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. “Because Jennifer, I have to tell somebody.
This is a big deal. It’s yours and Alton’s future. This is for my grandchildren, and it’s going to be amazing. Besides, you can keep a secret. AND, you won’t tell anyone because you don’t know what you are talking about.” Then he laughed and hung up.
Daddy was an extremely talented angler well known for his ability to find the honey hole and get the biggest catch. Because of this, we spent all our summers growing up on Lake Bruin, a beautiful ox-bow lake located in Tensas Parish.
Many, many times, Alton and I stood on our pier and watched as Daddy prepared all his gear and headed out for a few hours.
Before he left the dock, Daddy said “If anyone comes up, just tell them I went that way”. Then, he pointed in the opposite direction he actually went.
Sure enough, ten minutes later, boats full of grown men pretending to fish began to appear around our pier. Eventually, one nonchalantly asked “Which way did your dad go?”
Alton and I lied every single time.
Daddy employed the “four squares method” whenever he let me know I was up “sh** creek” with him. He called me into his office or out onto the pier at the lake and read me the riot act for whatever stupid thing I did that day.
The first thing he always did was lower his glasses and glare at me over them. “Don’t you ever lie to me when I ask you to tell me what happened.
Jennifer, I will do whatever I can to help you get out of whatever mess you have made this time. But, if you lie to me, you are on your own.”
“You really impressed me with how you have handled yourself these last few months (weeks…..okay fine, days). What you didn’t realize is that not only had you made it to square two, you were actually sitting in square three.
I mistakenly thought you had found your ability to act responsibly. Now, you are back to square one.”
This should not surprise anyone as I spent most of my high school career grounded. In fact, on one occasion, I was suspended from high school.
On another occasion, my car ended up in the middle of a farmer’s beautifully planted cotton field.
The good news is I did not lie to him, but I also never made it to square four.
On Sundays, he liked to count how many times our Methodist preacher said “realize and recognize” during his sermon. Then, Daddy asked me to compare notes while we ate lunch at our local truck stop on Highway 65 (always the old truck stop, never the new one).
Our preacher said that phrase a minimum of 35 times every single Sunday, and it drove Daddy nuts.
The Gift Giver
He was as creative with gift presentation as he was with the actual gift. My paint horse, Scout, Alton’s first hunting dog, Alton’s hunting club membership……I could go on and on.
He could hide a present and present a present better than anyone I have ever known.
The Cry Baby
He was a cry baby when he was a little boy. His big sister, my fabulous Aunt Gloria, and his cousins used to torment the high holy hell out of him while they sat in a tree he was too small to climb.
He believed them when they told him “the imaginary bull” was always chasing him and he better hurry up and get in the tree.
He was in pure panic as he tried so hard to climb it. Eventually, he got over their torture. Regardless, Daddy absolutely loved his Sissy (“Siiiiiisssaaayyy”) and mother (“Muuuthaaaah”) beyond measure.
When Daddy couldn’t sleep, he sat in the den and watched the really old school Weather Channel. Back then, there was no Jim Cantore hurricane drama.
Daddy stared at little typed paragraphs choreographed to music as they rolled up the screen to describe the current weather.
He did this for hours when his farmers were having a tough time getting their crops in, getting them out, or just keeping them alive.
Sometimes, he prayed for an inch of rain, sometimes he prayed for the rain to stop.
Many, many times, he just prayed everyone in the community could keep it all going for one more season.
The Book Lover
One night, Daddy changed the channel for a minute and found a book he thought was perfect for me. There was no WiFi, no PayPal, no cell phone surfing.
In the middle of the night, he picked up the land line, spoke to a customer service representative, and placed his order.
In the entire 25 years this book has been in my possession, I have found something new every single time I pick it up. Karen Salmansohn is a great writer….
“You must have the courage to take risks, stir up controversy, be talked about behind your back, and talked backed to by the opposition. AND, until a woman can change her un-evil ways, be tough, bear balls, face controversy, and STOP caring what people think, then others – both men and woman others – will have an edge over her.”
If I close my eyes, Daddy is standing there giving me that advice.
This book is my Bible and I have reserved a copy for my own precious Stinkerbelle, Daddy’s youngest granddaughter.
When I was 17 years old, some 50 year old pervert said some unbelievably inappropriate things to me. Daddy was standing at the door when I got home.
He took one look at me and said “Jennifer, what is going on?”
Daddy finally drug it out of me and gave me this little nugget “Jennifer, just because someone claims to be an adult, does not make them right. He’s wrong, and I will handle it.”
“I don’t care how much money he spends with me. That doesn’t give him the right to say those things to you or to anyone”.
“When someone treats you unfairly, speak up. I’m your Daddy. That also goes for when you see someone else treated unfairly. Don’t turn your back. Do whatever you can.
Because Jennifer, I will always be here as backup.”
The Early Riser
Even if he was up all night, Daddy was an early riser. He taught me that if you are struggling with something heavy duty, deal with it in the morning.
“Because, Jennifer, your mind is so much clearer.
“Somehow things seem to work themselves out much easier in the early morning hours.”
Daddy was also a fan of an early morning jog. Several days a week, he woke me before school to run with him. Eventually he stopped running because it bothered his knees.
Instead, he turned to a contraption that ironically, sat in my parents’ bar.
Many times, I found him on the NordicTrack swinging his arms and legs as hard as he could.
“Because, Jennifer, I need to work on my beer gut before my next ski trip.”
When I went into labor with my oldest, I lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas and my parents lived in Tallulah, Louisiana. I called them around midnight to let them know I thought it was time.
But, I was so nervous, I wanted them to wait until I was absolutely positive.
“Too late Jennifer, your dad is already dressed standing by the bed waiting on me to get off the phone.”
The police pulled Daddy over three different times on the 7 hour drive up. Not one of the officers believed Daddy when he told them why he was speeding.
The labor nurse didn’t believe me either. At 4 am, she loaded me into a wheel chair to send me home.
Thankfully, my water broke right in the middle of her lecture on why I was not even close to having my baby.
Jon-Benton arrived 9 hours later, and Daddy and mom made it with plenty of time to spare.
Daddy became a grandfather on October 29, 1995.
He was also the proud owner of three separate speeding tickets.
When I was 13 years old, over Christmas break, Daddy handed me a book called Love, Sex, and Growing Up. He said “Read it.” and walked away.
He then stopped and turned around.
“If you have any questions, just ask me”, and then stood there staring at me over his glasses.
Of course I read it, but I was not stupid enough to ever ask a single question.
Keep in mind that this is also the same man who stood in the tampon aisle at Walmart in Vicksburg, Mississippi, juggling blue boxes of tampons as high as he could and asked “Jennifer, is this the brand you need?”
Daddy went to Mississippi State University on a music scholarship and he literally bled maroon and white. He was a “Super Dawg”.
In fact, on November 17, 1984, serious underdog Mississippi State handed LSU an unbelievably shocking loss. Daddy wanted to take advantage of this situation in the best way possible.
So, he hilariously featured the scoreboard from that game as our annual Christmas card instead of our traditional goober family and pet photo.
Daddy happily mailed his card out to everyone he knew – and 99.9 percent of his buddies were LSU fans. He reminded all of them that unbelievable win had successfully marred what would have been LSU’s perfect SEC season.
It was also the only SEC game Mississippi State won that year at 16-14.
As a side note, there’s one Christmas card floating around of me and Alton sitting on our horses in our coke bottle eye glasses with the dogs in front of us.
If you have this card in your possession, burn it now.
As a MSU alum, Daddy never missed a chance to stand up and cheer “We got some Dawgs up in here.”
All while he held his little paws in the air and barked “Woof, Woof”. How I wish I had video of that….
He was a strong believer in the 15 minute power nap. Daddy drove home from work regularly in the middle of the day and was out like a light on our sofa in the den.
But, only for 15 minutes.
“Because Jennifer, anything longer is a waste of time.”
I saw for myself, how after taking one, he performed miracles.
The Office Manager
Daddy kept an old coca cola machine in the main lobby of Madison Farm Supply. It was not stocked with soda.
Instead, this machine was loaded with his beer of choice – Miller Lite.
The beer was cheap. But, it didn’t matter who you were, you could not purchase one (or six) until the clock hit “5pm on the dot”.
Daddy new how to decorate his office even on a shoe string budget. He had the most fabulous enormous wooden spool table in the main lobby of Madison Farm Supply.
All of the farmers sat at that table drinking their coffee while they waited for their products to be loaded. Sometimes, they sat around shooting the bull or reading the paper if they had gotten a much needed rain.
Countless farmers and friends shared many important conversations and funny stories sitting around that table.
If only that table could talk…….
Daddy was the ultimate poker face. He taught me never, ever show all your cards to anyone – including a car salesman.
“Because Jennifer, you do not love this car.”
“You most certainly can live without this car. We will walk out without this car. Do not let me down and do not let them read your face.”
As a result, I can buy a car better than any husband I have ever had.
Daddy loved to play craps, and he wanted me to learn. So, one day on the way to Vicksburg, MS, he handed me a book. I think it was called Craps for Dummies, but I don’t remember.
That book might as well have been in another language, as craps is an extremely confusing and intimidating game.
Of course, on the drive over, he hit the high points.
“Never, ever bet the “don’t pass” line. Because, Jennifer, that is just negative. You want whoever is rolling the dice to be positive. Betting against someone is not that.”
Go find another table where people cheer you on.”
I was fascinated as I watched him choose the perfect table. Once he found it, he threw his chips down to bet snake eyes, the hard eight, and the hi-lo-yo.
He had a sixth sense about when it was right to place these risky bets, and the laugher in his eyes when he won was absolutely PRICELESS.
Back then, I was beyond broke, and he always insisted on fronting me $300. I felt sick at the thought of losing that kind of money in the blink of an eye. But, I stood next to him, palms sweating.
“Jennifer, just bet the pass line, and then back it up, you will be fine.”
It was more than fine. I probably went with him 6 or 7 times over several years.
And, I never lost.
I also never left the boat without at least $500 in my pocket, and that was after I paid him his $300 back.
I was 8 months pregnant with my second child and I went to visit my best friend in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Daddy called me on the phone one morning.
“Jennifer, before you come home, I need you to find something for me. Find me a Schnauzer puppy. She has always wanted one. I want something to keep her company when I am gone.
Can you do this for me?”
I searched all over the entire state of Arkansas….no puppies ANYWHERE.
I was about to give up and I dreaded telling Daddy. But, the next day, I finally located one single Schnauzer puppy nearly 6 hours away on the other side of the state.
So, this Daddy’s girl left Fayetteville and drove to Jonesboro, Arkansas where I met two ladies in the Walmart parking lot.
But, unfortunately, while they were waiting for me, they decided they didn’t want to sell “Junior”.
I begged and cried for 45 minutes before they realized I was not going anywhere without the puppy.
They finally caved, and I drove another 6 hours holding that puppy in my lap and reassuring him his name would never, EVER be Junior.
Sometime after midnight, I finally handed him over to Daddy. He was so pleased with himself.
Daddy nonchalantly sat Nyles on his hospital bed while he patiently waited for mom to notice if anything was different.
Mom got the shock of her life when she walked into the den to give Daddy his medicine. Daddy chose the name Nyles because he loved the show “Frasier”.
The character Nyles made him laugh, even when he was sick as a dog.
The Underestimated Underdog
People often said “Price Holmes could sh** in a swinging bucket” because they assumed good things came his way by stupid luck.
They were completely clueless.
Those individuals didn’t realize Daddy ardently believed in the 8 P’s which he modified to suite his needs perfectly – Proper Planning and Preparation Prevent Piss (Painfully) Poor Performance.
He lived to be considered the underdog and therefore, underestimated.
Daddy put in an enormous amount of hard work to make it all look so effortless.
The Bourbon Connoisseur
Daddy’s favorite drink was a fabulous bourbon distilled by Buffalo Trace Distillery. Only Old Charter, 10 year old would do – not 8 and most certainly, never 12.
He also only mixed his bourbon with water. Daddy loved to make fun of every guy (friend or otherwise) I brought home for mixing their hard liquor with “girly” stuff – coke, sprite, ginger ale, or whatever.
After thoroughly embarrassing them, Daddy gave them a lesson on the carbonation that caused the nasty hangover.
He also deliberately neglected to mention this hard and fast rule only applied if one drank in moderation.
Regardless, they all ended up hung over as hell trying to impress him.
The Bourbon Connoisseur…..Continued
When I first wrote this in honor of Daddy, I had great plans for the perfect photo of the perfect bourbon in honor of the perfect man. I am sad to say Old Charter, 10 Year Old was discontinued in 2013.
Thank you to all of the distributors and liquor store owners in Louisiana and Texas who politely listened to me for months and months and months talk about why I needed them to PLEASE find me one bottle.
I have also had many conversations with wonderful strangers reminiscing about Old Charter, 10 Year Old while standing on the bourbon aisle in every liquor store within 6 hours of my house.
But, There’s More……
I am eternally grateful to Mr. Mark Brown, the CEO of Buffalo Trace Distillery. He responded to my sappy (he’s never going to read this plea for help) email in less than 24 hours.
Mr. Brown let me know that although Old Charter, 10 Year Old is retired, Eagle Rare 10 Year Old is the same fabulous recipe and the same fabulous age. Not only that, this bourbon does some fabulous charity work and honors those who lead a rare life.
Once again, I am a bourbon girl. In my humble opinion, you now have perfect photos of the perfect bourbon in honor of the perfect man – a RARE man.
As Daddy would say “Jennifer, there’s the silver lining.”
Daddy had the most beautiful denim blue eyes I have ever seen. They twinkled when he laughed, especially when Daddy was planning his next practical joke.
“That twinkle stood for many things. You couldn’t help but want to be around him. Some people are born with it and he was one who had it. That twinkle stood for a lot more than a good heart and friendship. It stood for character and strong beliefs that we all strive for, but few achieve. That twinkle stood for integrity.”
Those words are not mine.
Mr. Earl, one of my father’s good friends, spoke those words.
He had the enormous burden of standing before God and so, so, many friends and family who struggled with the gaping hole Daddy left when we lost him on May 22, 1999…….21 years ago.
I will be eternally grateful and honored that God chose me to be my Daddy’s girl.
So, all of you out there in this great big world, wave that Daddy’s Girl Flag hard and high.
I now pronounce May 22nd as International Daddy’s Girl Day Forever and Ever and Ever….Amen.
Daddy, I have no doubt you are sitting at a card table, drinking Old Charter, 10 Year Old in your underwear somewhere up there…….WINNING.
P. S. If you want to read more about him and how he heavily influenced my love of gardening, click here. If you want to know more about me, click here. Want to know about my perfectionism? Click here.
P. S. S. If you want to learn more about how David and I met and our wedding day, click here.
P. S. S. You can read about my brother and the woman God put in our lives here. Full disclosure – this is not an easy read, but writing about it helped me forgive myself for that awful day I will never forget.