My father, R. D. Averitt III, was born 70 years ago today in Memphis, Tennessee. My godmother and Dad's first cousin Harriet graciously sent me these photos that I cherish. I've been saving them for the perfect moment to post. So here you go Daddio. This is your life in a few photos. I love how sweet you look with Ma, our Francie.
You and Pa, or as you nicknamed him D2, already look like you were up to no good! I loved listening to y'all tell jokes and stories. They are some of my fondest memories of you Dad. How cool is that car and GD's watch?! He looks like Papa in this photo to me.
Could you and Momma have been any cuter in 1966? My gosh look how dapper. I can see you holding your pipe in your left hand. Were you really 25? I know you met at Memphis State to finish your last credit for Millsaps, and Mom was finishing her last credit for Randolph Macon Women's College. You said something clever in class that Mom took notice of and nine months later you were married. You were very clever.
You and Mom would have been married for 44 years this Friday, August 26 if you didn't get divorced in the 80's. Can you imagine? Ha! You got married a day after your birthday so you wouldn't forget your anniversary. Is that a true story? You taught me never to let facts get in the way of a good story. I love you for this. Eric just shakes his head at my stories. We are a special breed, story tellers and the fruit doesn't fall from the tree I think. You and Mac are identical in this photo and are joking under your breath. Mac is doing the same thing in the photo from our wedding a few shots down!
You moved after your wedding to North Carolina and taught at UNC Pembroke. You paid your housekeeper more than the Dean and got a talking to. Shortly after you all moved above the Mason-Dixon line. While you were in Pembroke you met your best pals and our godparents Willie and T.T. You were accepted at Michigan State and moved north for your Masters, but you are a true maize and blue Michigan fan. You all moved to Kalamazoo so you could teach at Western Michigan University in the history department. You guys peeked into the windows at Toad Hall and signed a contract on the spot without seeing the inside. I loved our house and love that you named it Toad Hall based on the Wind and the Willows. You must have chopped down that pine tree at the front door as I don't remember it at all.
I was born in Kalamazoo in 1972 meaning I'll be 40 in February. Dude, you are OLD! You insisted I was baptized at Calvary in Memphis.
NT agreed with you on that one. Maybe the only thing y'all ever agreed on.
Douglas McWilliams Averitt, Mac was born five years later so I had you guys all to myself for a good long time. Spitting image of you and you both made Mom laugh walking down the aisle!
After the divorce you made sure we spent lots of time during the summers together. We lucked out since you had the summers off as a professor. You took us on some of the best road trips from Kentucky to Destin to visit family and study the history of our great country. I loved our trips so much. I still talk about crash boom on road trips with E. How cute is little Macker in Cuddin Willis' kitchen? We couldn't understand him AT ALL. Our cousins thought we were from the moon with our northern accents! Our bowl cuts are the limit.
You wrote me some of the best letters when I was in college Daddy. One of my favorites was regarding the evils of smoking. Mac busted me and tattled to you. You wrote this very kind, loving letter explaining why I shouldn't smoke. You admitted it was hypocritical since you'd smoked a pipe since you were a child. You said that if I was doing it to be cool, that I knew better. If I was smoking to try to relax, you suggested I turn to prayer. Well Dad, your advice worked. I listened and took heed. Thank you for that.
I will never forget my wedding day and our moments together. I love this photo of me trying to fix your glasses.
When we were about to walk down the aisle we had to wait a minute and it was 107 degrees in the shade. You told me to sit down. Best advice ever. When we finally took our journey towards E. you held on so tight to my arm that I almost thought you wouldn't let me go. It was nice walking down the aisle slowly with you Daddy. I will never forget that fun walk with you! Snif.
You were *ahem* smoking your pipe during our photos and the photographer stole this fun photo of you checking out the wedding band. I love this shot.
I wish I could have scanned all of these photos so they didn't look so fuzzy. I think this was at a winter formal at Loy Norrix when you were a teacher there.
There are a thousand other stories to tell Daddy and photos to share but know the most important thing to remember today is how much we love you. E. also says "Happy Birthday Chopper!" Can't wait to see you in September.
Thanks again Harriet for sending me all of these photos. Mom, I didn't steal them from you for the first time, so there.