I’ve often been called “a chip off the ol’ block.” I am my father’s daughter, there’s no doubt about it. We’re built just alike. I have his eyes and his exact feet, only mine are prettier. I get my trademark curly hair from Daddy. We love a classic country song and the Georgia coast. We like good eatin’, going fishing and front porch rockin’ among the pine trees on our home place in Middle Georgia. We love pickin’ and grinnin’ and spending time singing Southern Baptist hymns and 1990’s Alan Jackson hits. We’re a lot alike, my Daddy and me. On this Father’s Day, I honor you, Joe W. Faulk III.
A friend to many and the oldest of five siblings, my Daddy is a well-respected, retired welder and electrician whose earned an honest living over 30 years in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union. He and my mom just celebrated their 42-year wedding anniversary. I come from an all-American family and that’s about as good as it gets.
Some of my fondest memories as a kid were going fishing with Dad. He would bait my hook and let me hold the rod. He showed relentless patience every time I’d cast my line and inevitably get it tangled in a tree or on a log. I’ll never forget the thrill of watching that orange and white cork disappear into the water as I reeled in that first fish with all my might. Daddy would holler “You’ve got a big ‘un Bek!” and I would beam with excitement. We’d joke about who could out-fish who, and he always let me win.
Just recently, Daddy and I took the boat to the river one afternoon and found a quiet cove to anchor down in and fish. The two of us had gotten settled and were happily listening to the birds chirping and enjoying the calmness of the water when suddenly, out of nowhere about three feet from the boat, jumped an otter. The otter did a flip in the air, landed right back in the water and was gone as fast as it came. Left pointing and reenacting the event, Dad and I were both startled in amazement. The otter event remains one of our favorite moments together on the water.
Today, we do most of our fishing on the family pond in Twiggs County where we catch large-mouth bass and red brim. When the fish are biting, Daddy will catch a mess and clean them. Mama does the cooking. For Sunday dinner, she’ll roast the fish skin-on, tail and all in butter and simple seasonings, like lemon-pepper and Old Bay. From the pond to pan, the tender white meat is Some Kinda Good y’all, but be sure to watch out for those bones.
Throughout the stages of my life, Dad has taught me many things. As a child, he and Mom taught me to wash my face and brush my teeth before coming to the breakfast table. As a teenager, he taught me to check the oil in my car and change a tire. Now that I’m grown, there’ve been times I’ve wanted to hop the country and leave it all behind, but each time, Dad has been there to say, “Keep your wits about you.” My Dad keeps me grounded, sets me straight and instills confidence in me when I need it most. He’s as tough as nails, yet compassionate too. He’s made sure my brother and I know we’ve always got a home wherever he is. He’s the finest God made and that’s all a daughter could ever need.
Happy Pappy Day Daddy, here’s to you.
*This article originally appeared in the Statesboro Herald on Sunday, June 18, 2017.