My Daddy's Hands

My daddy, Roy Mashburn, went to heaven May 15th at 9:48am. This is a tribute, born from a night of no sleep, the early morning of his funeral. Why not give this tribute online on Father's Day? Well, I was going to, but it just so happens that June 28 is my daddy's birthday, I felt it would be most appropriate to post this on his birthday. He is celebrating his 91st birthday in heaven----without us, for the moment.

Tough.


Rugged.


Worn.


Distinctive to the touch.


Sense of care when he would touch you.


His living was earned by those hands.


Summer gardens were planted by those hands.


His hands were never still—always on the move.


While others may have sought education or climbing the ladder of success, my daddy constantly, consistently, and faithfully educated those around him with a work ethic that few possess today.


Daddy cared for us in ways that only now we are able to fully see. His limbs seemed to always be moving to provide for us through employment and deployment—to his favorite place, his garden. All the while, those hands were working tirelessly with my mother’s, to provide for us.


Due to his many years of experience in paving, he would later be offered less physical jobs; riding around in a truck—cooled in the summer and heated in the winter. Of course, his reply was always, “I don’t want it. I’d rather be working and moving.” Evidently daddy didn’t consider overseeing and a supervisory role as work, he had to always be using his hands.


You can tell a lot about a man by his hands. My daddy’s hands were well-used, rugged, tough, worn, calloused, and constantly moving. By my last count, he retired three times, he just never was able to stay at home. Those hands planted, nurtured, cared for, and babied a manicured garden that went through an intense daily inspection for grass in furrows, or the invasion of varmint that sought to dine on the fresh greens my daddy had planted. At the sign of the smallest bite on his vibrant, but young plant, the electric fence would go up to “keep them dern deer out!” This would require the work of those well-worn hands. In a matter of hours, those hands had secured the garden, assuring us enough vegetables throughout the winter. At one time, he had six gardens, from Glendon, to Carthage, to Whispering Pines.


One of my fondest memories as a child would be planting season, which started around Easter. I would be out of school for Easter break, and daddy would take that week off to plant potatoes. I’d watch those hands prepare the land, and then those same hands would drop the potato slips in the rows. We grossed multiple bushels of potatoes—enough for three families to make it through the winter, all by the hands of daddy.


Daddy was a fan of good Bible teaching and preaching. We rarely missed a service; Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. He was the head usher for years at our church, which meant we were the first to arrive on Sunday mornings, and the last to leave. Before he could get in the car to head home, he first turned out all the lights, and gave an accurate attendance count to the pastor—all by using these same rugged, and dedicated hands.


Daddy was not a reader (I’m assuming that’s where my children gets it!), he’d rather be doing something outside, but he enjoyed listening to good men preach the Word. When the Lord called me to preach and opportunities began coming, the distance was never too great for him to travel with me to the meeting.

For twenty-six years, Daddy worked with the NCDOT, and retired from there in 1991. This was about the same time that the Lord called me to be a preacher. While I began my preparation, my daddy, who had just retired and never had a chance to go to college—now went back to work by his own volition, to pay my way through Bible college. Those hands never got a chance to enjoy retirement. Those hands never ceased to amaze me, but sadly at the time I did not realize what all I had. I had some part-time jobs while in college, but it was only for some extra money. I never had to worry about a school bill—God had provided that through the hands of my daddy. I was so arrogant and dumb as a college student, most of were…because of him, I had it completely easy. I never realized until later, that my daddy had used those precious, yet rugged hand to provide for me. I’ve had to ask God to forgive me, for taking his love for me, for granted! Just as God’s hand had provided for my needs, my earthly father did a tremendous job in providing for my earthly needs.


My daddy wasn’t perfect, but he was perfect for me. The only regrets I now have, is I wish I had taken more time to visit with him, not just visit him; listen to him, not just hear what he had to say.


Just a few days ago, after not being able to visit daddy for nine weeks, due to COVID-19 concerns, I again was reunited with my daddy’s hands.

This time, they were cold, frail, softened, and somewhat lifeless; the Lord was transitioning daddy to heaven. In my heart, I knew this was my time to talk and hopefully he could understand (Daddy has had several strokes over the course of a couple of years). Tears flowed as I stroked his head and told him he had been a good daddy to me and how his grandchildren loved and adored him. I told him I love him and wanted him to know how I appreciated all his help in life—words are certainly inadequate, but it’s all I had to offer. I touched those handsome, rugged, now softened hands, and told him it was time to “call it a day,” and go rest with the Lord. Though he was unable to respond, I know he heard me.


I can only imagine what he must be doing, who he must have seen by now, and actually seeing the face of our Savior. Wow! What a God we serve, to offer salvation, and a heavenly home with Him.


The more I learn about heaven, the more I long for a place that I’ve never been; that longing just got more intense, as of Friday, May 15th at 9:48am, to be exact.


Daddy’s hands are finally at rest. Now, he gets to enjoy the rest of Jesus, with Jesus. Well done, daddy—well done. My daddy didn’t die, he transitioned—to heaven. He’s not dead, he gone home! In fact, he’s never been more alive that he is now. I will see you again, very soon. Until then, enjoy your rest.


Your quiet, humble, meek spirit along with those powerful hands, have taught me so much. I’ll never be able to repay all you have done me, but I can teach your grandchildren, to live as you lived.


I love you, Daddy.