LIPS THAT DON’T LIE
I’ve been too busy to get a post out, but thought I’d share a piece of the manuscript I’m currently working on with you… Happy Fourth of July! God bless you and His nation.
LIPS THAT DON’T LIE
My Uncle Buck’s smile wasn’t to express joy, his was more like a sneer, and it promised good ole’ fashioned pain for some poor soul, once he could get his mind good and numbed from drinkin’. It wasn’t always just another man he was looking to punish, he was hunting for the one without a soul, the enemy of God; the devil himself.
If you believe in that sort of thing, then you know it was that lust for vengeance that the ole’ devil used to lure Buck closer to him, so close to satisfying his desire, and yet just out of reach, but he swore by God that he could whup that ole’ devil given the chance, even sparred him for practice in his sleep. Buck looked high and low for him, searched darn near every bar from Missouri to Arkansas to California, and he doubled back more than a few times to make sure he didn’t miss him in one of the honky tonks.
Most of the nine kids were born with that same smile, but the majority of them learned it like they did their names, and that expression with the mouth, raised on one side, eyes squinting, spelled danger. Funny things about folks who’ve got nothing, and aren’t in jeopardy of losing what they ain’t got, sometimes seem to smile as much or even more than the ones who are fretting about the finer things in life that they could lose.
My dad’s smile was different. I thought about it that day at my house, a special day, a day I’d never known in over forty years, how his could be so gentle after the life that forbid it still baffled me. Kindness was mistaken for weakness in his world and tears were designed, by God, for women and children. It might have been the new world, in the new South, but they weren’t of any kind of new mind to square the first part of the Good Book with the second.
* * * * *
My dad smiled the kind of smile that let you know it’s genuine, from the heart, and if you were looking close, you could catch a glimpse of his soul through those soft green eyes. But there was something different about it that day, unique, one I hadn’t seen another one of his exactly like it. It was strained, but happy, beaming with pride, not for himself. That wasn’t his style—it was pride and appreciation. I was proud too, but that’s been something that’s come far too easily for me. It didn’t matter that I was forty-four years old. I was still his youngest son, and it felt like cool green grass under my feet on the perfect spring day when he was proud of me, and told me so.
For the life of me I can’t imagine why I hated it when he, or anyone else for that matter, tussled my hair in affection, back when I was young enough for another person to actually be willing to show their emotion. I had no idea how rare it was, otherwise I might have cherished it, but I was the son of strong men, hard men. I knew that before I could speak, before the rest of the world laughed at the kid who couldn’t pronounce an ‘R’ to save my life. My dad never laughed.
The strained smile looked almost sad. That’s when I spotted it. I’d seen every different type of emotion on my dad’s face over my lifetime, caused every one of them at one time or another, but it had been too long since I’d seen something close to that one. That day I’d remember all the days of my life… and his.
Thursday, July 3, 2014 @ 3:00 am
Oh those memories which burn in our hearts. They never leave and actually become brighter as days move on. I have this sneaking suspicion, Floyd, you have leaned to smile and laugh as you have gotten older. One big difference between you and me though: 44, 54 or 61- you still have hair to tussle. I didn’t and don’t. 🙂
Friday, July 4, 2014 @ 10:09 am
Thanks, Bill. I have learned to appreciate the things in life that were difficult at one time. The lessons we get aren’t always without cost, but worth the price we pay. It’s all about perspective I think. I suppose if we live long enough most of us will lose what hair we have, some just slower than others. I have a theory that the people with the best shaped skulls lose their hair first!
Thursday, July 3, 2014 @ 5:35 am
What great description and contrast! I can’t wait to read more. And I always hated the hair tussling too. 🙂
Friday, July 4, 2014 @ 10:10 am
Thanks, Chuck. That’s a great compliment coming from you, my friend. I never tussled any little kids hair, I figured if I didn’t like it then they wouldn’t either!
Thursday, July 3, 2014 @ 4:28 pm
Ah ha…that where “a vengeance heart is not a wise heart” comment came from…Uncle Buck. What a precious memory Floyd to have of your father and I bet you would give a ton of money to once again have him tussle your hair. The memories we carry into our adulthood can make us or break us. Glad you have chosen to allow the Lord to use your memories for His glory.
Friday, July 4, 2014 @ 10:14 am
It’s the paths of our lives that leaves imprints in our minds and how we learn to perceive the world that speaks to who we are in this life. I got to see both sides of things, a gift that I didn’t know I was getting. Thanks for the kind words, Betty. Happy fourth to you and yours!
Thursday, July 3, 2014 @ 5:03 pm
Makes me want to read more! That’s great that you’re working on a book! And your dad sounds like a wonderful person. You’re very blessed!
Friday, July 4, 2014 @ 10:16 am
I am blessed indeed, Barb. And my dad was truly a wonderful person, one I can’t seem to match in terms of footsteps, but that’s kind of the point of the book. It’s actually my third one, still have some faint interest from agents for the last one, but haven’t had much time to follow up as of late. Thanks for the kind words and encouragement, Barb.
Nannette and the Sweetheart
Saturday, July 5, 2014 @ 3:00 am
I agree…we want more!! 🙂 Love this, Floyd. Makes me want to know your father.
Saturday, July 5, 2014 @ 12:28 pm
Thanks, Nannette. You would have cherished my dad, I never met anyone who knew him that didn’t. I miss him. The book is a tribute to him and wrestles with the concept of balance in life between being firm and fair.
Saturday, July 5, 2014 @ 7:34 am
You have a way of showing us the soul of the person you’re writing about, Floyd. That is a gift. Thank you for sharing this “teaser” – looking forward to more.
Saturday, July 5, 2014 @ 12:35 pm
Thanks for the encouraging words, June. I appreciate it, sister.
Saturday, July 5, 2014 @ 8:55 pm
Oh, what a tender picture you paint of your father’s soft green eyes and his smile…and I don’t think we are ever too old to hear our father say he is proud of us…and if it doesn’t happen from our earthly fathers, we can always hear God’s voice of love…blessings to you…hope you’re having a great 4th of July weekend.
Sunday, July 6, 2014 @ 9:23 am
Excellent point about Who we long to hear say, “Well done, my good and faithful child.” Thanks, Dolly, and a great weekend to you and yours, or what’s left of it!
Sunday, July 6, 2014 @ 1:23 pm
Two different smiles and you chose to smile like your Dad. Your Uncle Buck was like some we knew too, who didn’t realize that the devil they were fighting was in the bottle they were drinking. A good look in the mirror would have told them who the real enemy was. Fortunately God is still wooing and seeking those lost to themselves, and praise God many have found the path to freedom. A smile can lie and it can tell the truth. Keep smiling and let Jesus be seen in your smile. This post will appear on Tuesday at Tell Me a True Story. http://hazel-moon-blog.blogspot.com/
Sunday, July 6, 2014 @ 6:36 pm
How I cherish your wise words, Hazel. You do have a way with words, sister, but I guess you already knew that! Thanks, Hazel.
Monday, July 7, 2014 @ 8:47 am
HI Floyd! I think you wrote about your Dad and Uncle before, right? Something about the ‘smile’ sounds familiar to me. See! Your writing resonates! What a blessing to be able to look back and hold close those memories. Of course we were all children, and not understanding or appreciating the love given to us. But as adults we see better. Always better in hindsight, at least for me.
Our faith is the same way. As spiritual children, we don’t appreciate God’s movements in our young lives. Then…we get more attentive and more appreciative. You are that spiritual adult my friend. And it’s serving you well as you think of your family too.
Monday, July 7, 2014 @ 5:52 pm
Yeah, I write about my dad quite a bit. I’m with you on hindsight… amazing how blind we are even though our eyes can work perfectly… Thanks, Ceil.
Monday, July 7, 2014 @ 10:00 am
I have seen both contrasts in one or the other of my Parents. Before my mother died when I was 15 her heart was of pure gold, that woman was an Angel sent from God. I was too young to realize some of the things she was fighting from my Dad. However, now that she is gone and my Dad is around, I see him changing for the best. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to see. Thanks for sharing this peek inside your manuscript Floyd.
Monday, July 7, 2014 @ 5:54 pm
You’re perspective and attitude is first rate, my friend. I appreciate your sharing your life as well, it’s how we learn from one another as well as encourage. Thanks, Lincoln.
Monday, July 7, 2014 @ 10:09 am
I love the style here, Floyd, the vernacular. Your words about your father are also very heartfelt. I share the same feelings for my dad. Writing is a wonderful way of working through the absence we’ve been left with since they parted.
Monday, July 7, 2014 @ 5:55 pm
Amen, Dan. You and I have so much in common. I read your heart in your words, that’s why your books were so good. Thanks, Dan.
Monday, July 7, 2014 @ 1:45 pm
memories from our childhood
some bad, some good
… often misunderstood
what made them tick
that helped set my tock
… the generation clock
memories fade and
darken with time
by ignorance of
that set their ticks
from what formed their tocks
… the generation clock
onward it goes
backward in time
all thrust forward
into who is now mine
my ticks and tocks
help set their clocks
all set in motion
by those who’ve passed
… the past
… the present
… the future beyond
…… tick-tock, tick-tock
……… the generation clock
Thanks for sharing, Floyd.
Monday, July 7, 2014 @ 5:57 pm
David, you are awesome, my friend! This blows me away! Thanks for sharing your amazing talent and heart here, David. I appreciate this very much!!!
Tuesday, July 8, 2014 @ 10:17 am
I’m gonna love your book, Floyd.
The tribute to your father was lovely. You portrayed his character in such vivid terms, I felt like I had met him in real life. No worries, Floyd, you are doing him proud.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014 @ 5:55 pm
Thanks so much for the kind words, Sharon. God bless you and yours as well, sister.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014 @ 6:26 pm
I am not quite sure I know what smile you so speak of ….. but then I was never blood to him so I probably wouldn’t have ever noticed. Nice piece Floyd.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 @ 5:11 pm
It was a smile that spoke volumes! But you do know a smile that smiles in the face of danger… Thanks, Diane.
Saturday, July 12, 2014 @ 2:16 pm
As usual, Brother, you described reality. Some of what you said was exactly what I’d seen, heard, done over the many years. Focusing now continues to be a very important and heavy God-job. Thanks.
Sunday, July 13, 2014 @ 12:21 pm
Thanks, Joanne. We know, you especially, the reality of this fallen world and the ugliness that comes from it. But we know “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.”
Monday, July 14, 2014 @ 6:18 pm
I understand about being busy:) It’s been hard to read some of my favorite blogs (Like yours) due to being so busy. Can’t wait to read your entire book!
Monday, July 14, 2014 @ 7:14 pm
I know you’re a busy guy, Dan! Thanks for taking the time to weigh in, brother, you’re always appreciated here, Dan!
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 @ 8:48 pm