Tahlequah Daily Press

June 17, 2013

A day for dads

Special Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Fathers show their love for their family in different ways.

Little boys often look up their daddies or granddads and want to be just like them.

Three-year-old Kai Brinkley is fortunate to have five men in his family who want to spend time with him, including dad Josh; granddads Dennis Tibbits and Tom Brinkley; maternal great-grandfather Gene Carter; and great-uncle Tom Lamons.

What their dads did to show their dedication to their families is reflected by both the time period in which they grew up, and their individual personalities.

Gene Carter said his dad, Houston Carter, only had a fourth-grade education, but could do anything, including read the paper.

“He’d point out each word with his finger,” Carter said. “Mom was a talker, and each time she’d ask him a question, he’d put his finger to the spot and answer her. After a while he’d say, ‘I bet your ears are glad when you go to sleep so they get a rest!’”

Houston was a quiet man, but when he asked for something, you answered, Carter said.

“I’m impressed by his ability to do so many things. If the car broke, he fixed it. He’d pull the motor out, hanging it from a tree limb and fix it,” Carter said. “Back then, you had to do it yourself. He also drilled wells and had cattle.”

His dad worked from daylight to dark.

“Obedience is what I learned from him,” Carter said. “He taught me to fish and hunt, how to work, and how to drive an automobile early. I could barely reach the foot pedal and see over the windshield at the same time.”

Tom Lamons also measured his dad’s devotion by how hard he worked and what a good provider he was.

“[My dad, John Newton Lamons] got up early in the morning and woke us up with his whistle, which meant get out of bed and go to the milk barn,” Lamons said. “He’d turn a set of cows in and we’d milk by hand. He’d do the hard-to-milk cows. We all worked hard, but he worked the hardest.”

Lamons’ father was also a quiet man.

“He never did talk much, but when he did talk, you listened,” Lamons said. “He was a good judge of horses and cattle. He tried to learn us; I guess we learned it pretty good.”

Tom Brinkley had a much different experience. His dad, Thomas, was a professional – a petroleum engineer, who also played with the Tulsa Philharmonic. A veteran of World War II, his dad could rig up stuff, like a water cooler, and fix toys.

“He took chain wire, a box and packing, put a hose through it and turned on the attic fan, creating a water cooler,” Brinkley said. “Dad was a drum major at the University of Tulsa and met my mom in college. They both played in the Tulsa Philharmonic.”

They tried to get him interested in music, and had him take piano lessons.

“Dad traveled a lot and was very straightforward,” Brinkley said. “Mama did most of the talking, and the discipline. She’d spank us, then dad had to talk to us afterward. Those talks had a lot of meat in there.”

After he raised his own kids, Brinkley said, he began to understand what his father was saying. He attended college at Northeastern State University and later on began to talk with his dad.

“We didn’t relate to each other very well, but when I got older, I started asking him questions,” he said. “I was ready to listen. His last 10 years, we had better communication.”

Dennis Tibbits greatly admires his dad, Jim Tibbits, of Westville.

“My dad was probably the most patient, easy-going, even-tempered and likable fellow you could ever meet,” Tibbits said. “He had no enemies that I’m aware of at age 87. In my whole life, I never saw him lose his temper.”

A builder, he was also a good provider, Tibbits said. He cherishes memories of his dad and family.

“We weren’t lacking for anything,” he said. “Dad came from a family of 10 and we used to go see them all over the country. I know a lot of kids didn’t have those opportunities.”

Especially unique is the way his dad would parent.

“Dad’s parenting style was to let me make my own decisions and live with the consequences,” Tibbits said. “He never told me what he thought I should do, unless I asked him. He didn’t force his opinions on me.”

There was an exception. When he was very young, Tibbits said, his dad made it clear an education was a priority.

“He was determined I would go to college and told me to never pick up a claw hammer. When I worked for him in the summer, he gave me the worst jobs no one else wanted to do, so I’d stay in school,” Tibbits said. “It worked.”

Tibbits, a speech pathologist and musician, said his mother’s father was also a musician.

“My interest in music came from my grandfather, Joe Price, a gospel singer. He was in a quartet with his brothers and he got me my first guitar,” he said. “He was so thrilled I had an interest in music. It was a joy to him.”

Josh Brinkley, Kai’s father, likes everything about being a dad.

“Being with Kai is the best thing,” he said. “My son’s a lot like me, so it’s kind of funny to see the personality traits. I can see how I drove my dad crazy.”

He also enjoys teaching Kai.

“He’s a sponge; it’s easy to teach him. He’s so imaginative. It’s something different everyday: soccer, Star Wars, fishing,” he said.

Brinkley and his dad, Tom, spent a lot of time together, which is where Brinkley learned his work ethic.

“He has this amazing ability to interact and adapt,” said Brinkley. “He had polio and asthma as a kid, which ham-stringed him. Yet he adopted a kid who loved sports and he played with me.”

Other Father’s Day memories posted in response to an online poll include being adopted, learning skills, and making children feel special.

Paul Davidson appreciates how his dad, Lowery Davidson, taught him to hunt, fish, drive a nail, cut trees with a cross-cut saw, and work on a car.

“Dad taught me to make do with whatever was handy, go to church, trust God to answer prayers, encouraged me to preach, and learn to play a mandolin,” Davidson said. “And to stay off of welfare, make my own way, show appreciation and honor my elders and respect women. That’s only a few of the things he taught me, but he also had endless stories about growing up in the early days of Cherokee County. He was born in 1901 and came to Cherokee county in 1907.”

Mitzi Reasor said her late father, Forrest Timmons, was a great father to his six children.

“He and my mother never relied on anyone or anything to take care of us. They did it all, both working non-stop, sometimes more than one job, plus managing a farm and cattle,” Reasor said. “He taught us to be independent and self-sufficient, to love the land and what it could provide. He taught us to respect ourselves, our loved ones and this great country.”

Family is important to Tess Courtney’s dad, Tom Courtney.

“Growing up, he encouraged us with word games at the dinner table, board games, camping together out at Pettit Bay with cousins, and family gatherings still to this day, whenever he can round us all up,” she said. “Dad is all about family, which has been an excellent example in my life about my heavenly father. I know they both love me very much.”

Calling her dad “the best dad ever,” Angela Baker said her father, Bill John Baker, has the amazing ability to make her feel like she’s the only thing in the world that matters.

“No matter how busy he is, he tries to always answer when I call and when I need advice or just an ear or a shoulder. I know that he will always be there in a moment’s notice,” Baker said.

When she was a little girl, he would take her to school every morning.

“We always stopped along the way to pick up a pink iced doughnut from Morgan’s. As I grew, he taught me to change a flat, saddle a horse, how to catch fish and to drive,” she said. “I watched him intently and learned about people, our family and Tahlequah, about construction and God.”

Her favorite memory of him is holding his hand in church.

“Most every single Sunday, growing up, that is where we were as a family, taking up an entire pew. Watching him love God, family, his country and our mother is the greatest gift he has ever given me, and I am eternally grateful for his love, guidance and friendship,” Baker said.

Karen Bradley said her dad, James Ingles, was amazing.

“Some would call him stepfather, but he was the only man who stepped up to the plate when he didn’t have to and fathered six children who were not his,” Bradley said. “His work ethic, morals, gentleness, humor, and quiet spirit laid the foundation for us as impressionable kids.”


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