Let me tell a little bit about our dad Joseph Samuel Thomas; he will be 92 years young on Thursday 25th June 2020.
Dad has a calm manner and does not like arguments. He is very funny and quick witted that you cannot help but to laugh at his jokes. He is very loving; family orientated and loves when we visit. He does not have a favourite child and treats us all the same.
Dad is quite soft and in fact our extended family used to say that dad spoilt us because generally whatever we wanted we got. We got pocket money on Saturday mornings the amounts in age order: Setia, June, Carmen, Brenda and Joseph. When we were growing up, he was concerned about our welfare and always wanted to know that we were OK and up to this day that has not changed. He was happy for us to go on school trips, residential trips anything that was for school was OK we got the thumbs up, but for anything else no chance. Looking back, we realise that it was not always easy for them looking after 5 children with individual demands and the sacrifice he must have made for us to go on these school trips.
It wasn’t all lovely though as dad was very strict and we were only allowed to go to our cousins, our good friend Leesorn or church there was no in between and certainly no school disco’s although June ventured out once and that didn’t end well……
Dad loves the Lord and that is one thing that has never changed. He says it is his duty to tell us of God’s love for us and the perils if we do not serve the Lord. For dad, church was everything so we could attend any type of service even on a school night: prayer service, choir practice, ‘End of term’, fasting the list goes on.
Growing up it was quite challenging as there wasn’t any other life but church and to be honest some things he said didn’t make sense and if we questioned it we never got the answer we wanted. We wanted to go out like our friends be like our friends, but his thoughts and ways were old-fashioned. Now we are adults we understand why and know that he is not going to change. The truth of the matter is he did not want any of his four daughters dating or worse getting pregnant outside of marriage. Whilst we were living at home on Saturday evenings, we used to congregate in our parents’ bedroom and discuss the Sunday school lesson followed by prayer. Back then it all seemed so tedious and used to interrupt our Saturday evening programs i.e. ‘Starsky & Hutch’, but now we are older we are glad for it as that was our foundation.
1977 saw a change in our circumstance’s dad had to have major surgery to remove kidney stones (which he still has in a jar) and he could not go back to work at GKN Sankey. Our mom then went to work, she became the bread winner and dad the carer. He used to make patties for us and the big round fry dumplings; they were his speciality. We were not conventional children because while others were probably eating yam, green banana and saltfish we would eat beef burgers and chips, hot dogs with proper bread rolls not sliced bread (smile) and even cereal for our dinner. We were not fussy, and our dad was OK with that as long as we were happy.
Mom finished work in the early 80’s and Dad became a taxi-driver. The role had changed again now mom was at home and he was at work. He finished work at the age of 75 too many early mornings and very long days.
He really loved being a taxi-driver meeting people, chatting to them, and of course inviting them to church.
Over the last few years Dad has become slower on his feet and only goes to church. Sometimes it can be frustrating because some days he will lie on his bed all day and we have to encourage him to get up and sit in the living room. We feel that if we were not around this is what he would do and have mom run around for him. A lot of the time he thinks we bully him and tells us to go home and leave him alone, but that is what you get when you have four daughters. He has flaws and he is not perfect, but he loves us and would do anything for us. Last year he got very emotional and said he was sorry if he had ever hurt us. That is our father that can acknowledge his shortcomings. He was not afraid to admit to times of weakness and he even shed tears.
Through it all he is a praying father. He lives for God. Proverbs 22 vs 6 tells us ‘Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it’ and this is true of our dad he stands by this scripture.
So, we are glad and grateful he is still here with us. We applaud him and thank him for working, caring, loving, disciplining, and teaching us the way of the Lord Joshua 24 vs 15 says ‘But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’.
We love you Dad x
Setia, June, Carmen, Brenda & Joseph