In honor of Father’s Day, some of Southern Gospel Music’s favorite “fathers” have been very gracious to sit down and pen a few stories and words of encouragement for us this weekend. The paragraphs below are written by Brian Free, one who not only holds the title of Southern Gospel’s most awarded tenor, but husband, father, grandfather and son also. Below, he shares a childhood story about his father – I hope it brings a smile to your face and inspires you to be the same kind of person James Free was…
I have so many great memories of my father in the 48 years I had him in my life. Dad was a very loving but strict man. He was a WWII veteran and spent over 40 years as a police officer so our household was very organized. We never had a lot of “Things” growing up but we had more love than you can imagine. I remember one winter we had about 5 inches of snow and ice and me and my brothers had this idea of taking the front off an old washing machine and using it as a sled (redneck fun). My Dad offered to pull us down the driveway and when he was pulling me all of a sudden we hit a dry spot and the sled stopped but I didn’t. My face planted itself in the gravel and it tore me up pretty good. My Dad was in tears thinking that it was his fault. I remember him carrying me back to the house repeatedly saying how sorry he was. He was truly a GREAT Dad in every way.
He loved music and was the happiest when we gathered in the living room of the house and sang and played instruments as a family. Watching the tears flow down his face as he sang about the Lord was something I’ll always remember. I knew the love he had for us boys and it made me love my boys in the same way. He was a true leader to us. I know how much my earthly father loved me and I also know how much more my heavenly father loves me.
Thank you Dad for being the man you were to all of this family. I can truly say “I Want To Be That Man”.