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Happy Fathers Day!

There is so much going on here at home, across the state, in Washington and around the world I should share with you but we’re going to leave it alone this week. The most important item is a tip of the cap to all Dads, Grandfathers and those who fill the Fatherly role.

I was very blessed to have my Dad; there were also other great men in my life at a young age. There was my Pappy Maietta. He was always there for me, treated me as an adult at a young age and I appreciated it. Pappy taught me to drive before I turned 16. He stopped at a red light in Troy, got out of the car and said Jimmy you’re driving. You didn’t argue with him. A quick, “the right is the gas, the left the brake, put it in drive and keep it between the lines” and away I went, Troy to Newberry. My Nanny Maietta was more scared than me! My Grandfather was battling cancer at the time and not feeling well. He and I had a special relationship. I got to sit in “the chair” normally reserved for older folks and people he wanted to give direction to. I was proud to be able to sit there and listen at a young age.

I don’t want to talk politics but for those who don’t believe me when I say I’m not a Republican or Democrat but a conservative American here is why. My Grandfather was a staunch Democrat well-connected within the party. He taught me about his party, his beliefs and the good the Democrats had done for our nation.

When President Jimmy Carter was elected he gave me the golden peanut from the invitation to his inauguration and gala he received. Pappy did attend events like that. I also got to meet Governor Shapp and Representative Flood at his home.

Next up was my Stepfather Gabe, when my Mom and Dad got divorced, he came into my life. Gabe was also a believer in the Democratic Party. Where Pappy left off Gabe filled in, no worries though Mr. Webb always more than balanced them both out. As a young man I was provided a view from both sides of the political arena.

Leonard Gabriel, just Gabe to me, was a teacher, bank executive and builder. He taught me how to side a house, fix a switch and do things with my own hands. Afterward a cold beer at the nearest club or the Crippled Bear. He was John Deere green, suit and tie and Bob the Builder all in one. I was fortunate to have both in my life and only wish I had them longer. One thing is for sure, the Democratic party of today is not the one my Grandfather and Stepdad knew.

After the two passed, Father’s Day became about remembering, appreciating and understanding the bond of fatherhood between generations.

Then came the passing of my Father, we had a most special relationship. After his death the first Father’s Day was flat out tough. Not only because I missed him but because I had become my Pappy, my Dad and Gabe. I was the head of my family and not out of choice. Incidentally, my Grandfather Webb died of cancer when I was six months old. He loved playing and coaching baseball and I’ve been told he was fast and a great outfielder, go figure.

After I got over mourning the loss of my Dad, I realize these men made me and prepared me for the present. And not only was Father’s Day a celebration of their memory it most importantly is a celebration of my children and the continued blessing of fatherhood.

In a day and time when we need more good Dads we must understand that you don’t have to be a father by blood. You only have to love, give your time and knowledge and be there day in and day out for young folks.

There is only one Father that never made a mistake and he gave up his only Son. Being a Dad is not about being perfect, it’s about being there when something in a child’s life is imperfect.

While we are on that imperfect World, there are more children who need parents today than ever before. The most important thing for any child is to have a home and parents. The importance of a fatherly figure for love and guidance could never been overstated. Someone to throw batting practice, take the child or children in their life fishing or to the park, maybe something as simple as a trip to the mall for new sneaks, most importantly someone who listens and loves.

Do not judge a families appearance in today’s World, it may appear different than the nuclear family you grew up in. I’ve been around families who appear to have two Dads or two Moms. There is nothing to worry about, one always provides the fatherly love and guidance a child needs.

Grandfathers also are providing a bigger fatherly role in many young lives today. As are coaches, teachers, neighbors and folks from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter who is proving love and guidance as long as somebody is.

It doesn’t matter who is providing love as long as someone is.

Fatherhood is a lifetime commitment through good as well as not so good. Tip of the cap to my brother Brian. It has only been a little over a year ago Rachel, his wife and mother of their three boys, left us. One night cheering for Jimmy and his Loyalsock teammates, the next day gone home to the Lord.

Brian, I’m proud of you. Chance (13), Jediah (9) and Gage (5) are three great boys. At times it would be tough for any two parents to handle the challenges of three boys. Your time spent coaching and hunting with them I’m sure is easy, your helping with homework, cooking and cleaning, washing of the uniforms isn’t so easy. Your counseling and love during this most difficult time has provided as good of a transition from tragedy as possible. Great job Big Bri and a most deserving Happy Fathers Day!

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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