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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Happy (07/12/07)

TITLE: Here He Comes! Here He Comes!
By Mariane Holbrook


“Here comes Daddy!”

I stood on tiptoe at the curb as I did every afternoon waiting for Daddy to return from work so he could put down his black metal lunch pail and pick me up for a warm hug and a kiss. He’d say, “You make me so happy waiting for me every day that I could sing a happy song:

“O happy day, that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Savior and my God!
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.”

I inhaled the familiar sooty railroad smell from his gray work shirt and saw that his hands were still dirty from working in the hot sun as a pipe fitter but I didn’t mind. This was “Daddy-boy,” as I called him.

Though he was tired from the bus ride and the final six-block walk to our house, he always carried me the rest of the way home. Four years old and the youngest of six children, I was daddy’s girl. Often on hot summer nights, we’d all sit on the front porch and talk about everything from politics to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’d had his bath, put on fresh clothes and splashed shaving lotion on his face. His bald head was so shiny and smooth, he’d joke, that he combed his hair with a wash cloth. On those wonderful evenings, Daddy and Mother would sing or hum softly the rest of the hymn:

Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray, and live rejoicing every day.
Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away.

One day when I was seven, I noticed Daddy didn’t sing when I met him at the corner. Still he hugged and kissed me and because it was payday, he smiled and handed me his special treat from his empty lunch pail: Necco wafers. I carefully extracted the black ones and popped them one at a time into Daddy’s mouth, laughing as he hid them inside his cheek so I’d think he’d swallowed them whole.

That night my 15-year-old sister overheard Daddy and Mother talking softly in their bedroom. There was an urgency in Daddy’s voice.

“The bank has repossessed our house, honey,” Daddy told Mother. “The Depression is so bad that millions of men have no work at all. I’ve taken the second cut in pay myself. We haven’t been able to make a house payment in several months so the bank has given us one month to vacate. I wrote to my brother, Irvin, asking for a $500 loan. That’s all we need to pay off the mortgage. He responded with a firm “No,” saying if we hadn’t given our tithe to our church all these years, we wouldn’t be in the fix we’re in now.”

My sister said she heard Mother and Daddy kneel by their bed and pray. They thanked God for all his blessings and quoted some favorite scripture verses. Then they started singing!

Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray, and live rejoicing every day.
Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away.

With every verse, their voices grew stronger until they had sung all five verses they had memorized.

My sister slid down to the floor outside their bedroom. She began to cry and whispered this prayer:
“Dear God, I want the same kind of faith that Mother and Daddy have. I’m sorry for all my sins. Will you wash my heart clean in Jesus’ blood and make me born again?

She dried her tears, slipped away quietly to her bedroom and sat alone on her bed to seal this commitment.

Mother and Daddy lost their house and we moved into a rental property. Rather than save for another house, they helped put six of their seven children through college. All but one are born again Christians. Two became missionaries and one married a pastor.

When our parents went to be with the Lord, “Oh Happy Day” was sung at both of their memorial services.
At Daddy’s service, I held a roll of Necco wafers tightly in my hand. Earlier in the day, I removed the black ones, placed them in a tiny white box with a blue satin ribbon, and discreetly hid the box in the coffin where no one could see it but me and my beloved Daddy-boy.

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This article has been read 1090 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 07/19/07
Oh, I love this story! My Dad did the same thing with his lunch pail and I smiled as I read your descriptions about your Dad. Wonderful testimony of a special family.
Virginia Gorg07/19/07
Wonderful story - well written - good use of descriptive words - and brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for writing this. I can't think of a thing to change.
Charles Toscano07/20/07
I really enjoyed reading your story. God didn't answer the way I thought He would, but He is always Jehova-Jireh. How cool.
Edy T Johnson 07/22/07
I'm bawling, this is so precious! This has to go in my favorites, and I hope it goes in THE BOOK of EC selections. What blessed memories, what a darling little girl, what a wonderful story! I hope you are writing a book---I want my own copy.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/22/07
This is a treasure of a story, surely a winner! The descriptions were wonderful and the family love and faith in God visible.
Lynda Schultz 07/23/07
Tears in my eyes — I especially loved that last paragraph.
Joanne Sher 07/23/07
This is so heartwrenching, and such a wonderful portrait of a family committed to Him! Wonderful.
Joanney Uthe07/23/07
What an awesome comparison between the happiness of a child and the true happiness of relying on God even in hard times. Excellent descriptions.
Catrina Bradley 07/23/07
A wonderful tribute to your parents, and a great testimony to living in faith and knowing true happiness.
Pam Carlson-Hetland07/23/07
Wonderful story, beautifully written. I found myself thinking about how parents influence their children more through their actions of faith than their words. Great story, great message.
Sharlyn Guthrie07/23/07
WoW! I have a big lump in my throat as I write. This is a fabulous testimony of faith. I love how the song fit every phase of life and even death. Excellent writing!
Linda Watson Owen07/28/07
Mariane, you've touched a chord in all our hearts with this wonderfully bittersweet story! I remember my mother telling of the Depression and how hard, but precious, the joys and sorrows of life were then. You've captured that time and experience perfectly here. What masterful skill you have in story telling! Truly exquisite in every way! Thank you for your generosity in sharing with us something that is so precious to your heart. I'll remember this one for a very long time.