Tribute

The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. I have been young, and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendants begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends; and his descendants are a blessing.
Psalm 37:23-26

All my life, I remember Dad
WORKING

With huge, strong, worn, precise, scarred, loving hands:
Cutting hair, removing ticks and splinters for all his kids;
Repairing the vehicles: from flat tires and dents to an entire engine;
Building on the house, painting, re-shingling, connecting to city sewer;
Mowing the lawn, chopping wood, stoking the fire;
Planting, cultivating, harvesting, canning, cutting, drying;
Driving, setting up and taking down the P.A. equipment, driving again;
Cleaning the church, upholstering the pews, plowing the snow.
Always laboring, never idle.

With a quick, thorough, serious, practical mind:
Taking care of business;
Bargain hunting, making do, inventing;
Finding the hearse, designing the camper;
Arranging tour itineraries, phoning, navigating;
Supervising the family assembly line for record jackets;
Using the wringer washer to press the labels onto the jacket sleeves;
Always thinking, never bored.

With a heart for ministry:
Singing, playing piano, guitar and accordion;
Finding and teaching songs, recording albums, duplicating tapes;
Preparing messages, preaching sermons, counseling the needy;
Conducting funerals and weddings, visiting nursing homes;
Writing poems, hymns and spiritual songs;
Always parenting; convinced of his accountability before God
For his children’s lives and conduct.


All my life, I remember Dad
PRAYING

During family devotions, before meals, before services;
During storms, in the midst of tragedy, in praise;
In public or private; while wrestling through decisions;
Kneeling by the bed, the chair or the sofa;
Sitting at his desk, in the car or the front pew at church;
Hand on his forehead, massaging a furrowed brow;
With Mom or alone; with the family or the congregation;
Drifting off to sleep, while exhaling “Oh, Lord!”
Praying for the family, the church, the government.
Praying for me.


All my life, I remember Dad
GIVING

To neighbors: a helping hand;
To shut-ins: music and a word of hope;
To strangers: a meal, a bed, a lift, a tract or a few bucks;
To friends & family: time and effort to repair, repaint, remove or re-arrange anything;
To me: money for college and for the contacts I ordered but couldn’t afford AND
A time when he said I should make a particular decision on my own.
To Mom: eight children and a 17-year North American tour.
To his descendants: a Godly example and a heritage of faith.

I used to think I couldn’t remember a lot about my childhood,
the memories all blurred together.
But when I take the time to stop and think,
I remember my Dad.



Written for Frank P. Nickel
by his only daughter, Joyce
Christmas 1995

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