Good Things About Dad

Recently, a friend and then a student’s mom passed away. Because my mantra is books help us know how to live, I gave each surviving family the picture book, The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst. In their card, I wrote about the importance of memories with their loved one and how I hoped this book could help them make their list of all the good things about their loved one, gone too soon from their life.

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Thursday is my birthday. Thursday is also the 30th anniversary of my dad passing away from this world. I decided to take my own advice and write down my list of good things about my dad.

The Good Things About James Herbert “Bert” Stallings, AKA Dad

  1. He was a great salesman – of John Hancock Life Insurance, of Gerber Baby Food, of janitorial and carpet cleaning services of his own companies. He could convince all that they needed what he was selling!
  2. He was a Big thinker. When our neighborhood in 1965 didn’t have a community pool, he worked to gather the support, find the land and get it built. “Go High Point!”
  3. He loved playing cards, especially Pinochle and the game called Aquire.
  4. He loved hosting parties, especially our Annual New Year’s Eve Party.
  5. He loved attending Redskin Games at RFK stadium, cheering loudly from the upper level end zone seat with my mom. A few times I got to be his partner!
  6. He loved extravagance. Once took my mom, younger brother and me to NYC for the weekend. We saw Annie on Broadway and then the Christmas Spectacular show! Very extravagant and fun!
  7. He loved the beach. Each August, he took us to Bethany Beach. We enjoyed the sun and waves. Then each evening, we drove to Philips in Ocean City or The Avenue in Rehobeth for a family dinner out and ended with a walk on the boardwalk!
  8. He loved to eat out and not just on vacation. Sometimes simple – Hot Shoppe Cafeteria. Sometimes fancy – Clydes of Tysons.
  9. He had the best handwriting, his own calligraphy style! I always wanted him to sign my report card! and loved how he made our Christmas card envelops look.
  10. He worked hard and put me through college and bought me a little blue Mustang car to drive.
  11. He happily threw me a very festive wedding and enjoyed it as much as Brian and I did!
  12. He courageously stopped smoking cold turkey after the first heart attack when I was in High School. He pushed on after the 2nd heart attack a few years later. But the 3rd one took him, at age 55, on my 25th birthday.

My list is just a few of the many memories I can rattle off about my dad!


4 thoughts on “Good Things About Dad

  1. jcareyreads says:

    What a gift to give. Books do help us through. I hope the families take you up on your invitation. There is power in remembering. Your dad sounds like a really special person. Happy almost birthday. ❤️


  2. Beth Sanderson says:

    I love this post so much! I know your dad had to be an amazing person because you are extraordinary. Thank you for sharing your memories with all of us and the book with families who are grieving. In my life, the other side of grief has been appreciation for the gift of memories. Your post captures this dichotomy perfectly.


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