“Who has had the most influence in you life? For me, it was my dad and Frank Stanton Bondurant, my mother’s father. My mom called him “Daddy,” but to his grandsons he was known as “Daddy B.” He was born in 1905 and died in 2002, just shy of his 97th birthday. As I reflect on his influence in my life, I am amazed at how many lasting impressions he made. He was quite a storyteller.
Daddy B was an only child. His parents both died before their 42nd birthday, so he didn’t think he would live past that age. They both played piano, but he was a gifted violinist. He played high school football when there were no face masks, just a thin leather helmet. He broke both eyebrow bones and both collar bones. He loved to play games and tell jokes. If you said, “Please pass the cereal,” he would throw you the box! He introduced me to fig preserves and Mama B’s blackberry cobbler. He threw baseball with me for hours when I was a little league pitcher, teaching me how to grip the threads to throw a curve ball, drop ball, fast ball and slider. He played his violin with me when I was playing piano in middle and high school. When I learned to drive he always reminded me that if an animal ever ran in front of me that I should “go through it,” and not swerve to miss it. He had wrecked his car one time avoiding a dog. His advice probably saved my and my family’s life when I hit a deer in June 2002 driving sixty miles per hour. Incredibly, we were on the way to his funeral when this happened.
“Lord, make us thankful for these and all our blessings. Pardon our sins for Christ’s sake. Amen.” This was Daddy B’s prayer before every meal whenever we saw him. These are only a few of my memories of this beloved man of character, passion and faith. I loved Daddy B and will never forget him.
I think what made Daddy B’s life unforgettable to me is how he lived life to the fullest, and how he was fully engaged in life’s moments. Who was (or is) a “Daddy B” for you? For whom can you be a “Daddy B” as you go through life?