Thursday, April 19, 2007

He Called Me Daughter

I would slide my arm around his waist and say "Hi there, Pops." He would give me a one-armed hug and say, "Hello, daughter." His smile would grow brighter, in a way that seemed just for me. I knew it wasn't, but I've always been fond of self-delusion and so it warmed my heart anyway. I knew he loved me and that was all that mattered.

Since I was a kid, Jack Boucher "Baldy" was a fixture in my life. Jack lived on his ranch east of Colorado Springs for most of his 81 years. Probably the single-most hard-working man I have ever known, Jack worked until days before his death. Married for 56 years, he and his wife, Shirley, raised four kids on the land where he was raised.

Of all the memories I have of him, a few things stand out: I never heard him say a harsh word or say an unkind thing about anyone; He loved people and was not harsh or judgemental even while he strove to live a good and upright life; He reached out to people no matter who they were. I'm not sure he noticed whether you were a trash collector, a felon or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Those weren't the things that mattered to him. Where your heart was with Christ mattered, what your struggles were mattered, true teaching of the Word mattered.
Jack was a praying man. His love for people translated into praying for them. He trusted in his Heavenly Father to listen to his requests. He was generous. He went out to eat with people all the time, especially the folks from church, and he often picked up the tab for folks he knew were hurting financially.

I heard once, years ago, that his wife, Shirley, fed him horse oats and liver for breakfast every day of his life. Looking at his vitality and how slowly he aged, I always believed it. A couple of months ago I was eating dinner at their house and I told him how it was hard to argue with that diet. "I don't eat horse oats," he protested. "You do when I tell the story."

He had a great sense of humor and yet was a serious man, always ready to talk about Jesus.

"It is a wondrous thing that Man can talk to God." Such was his belief. It is wondrous, indeed.

Today Jack is talking to God face to face. He was welcomed with a marvelous reception and I am convinced he heard the words, "Well done."

The man who called me daughter has gone to his reward. I shall miss my Pops.