Click above to listen to Joyful from my second album Still Waters as you read. If you enjoy, consider purchasing the song, album download, or CD from iTunes, Amazon, or stantonlanier.com (where sheet music is also available).
Who inspired your childhood with spontaneous joy and creativity?
I immediately think of my grandfather Frank Stanton Bondurant. 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. Here are a few ways he brought joy and creativity to my life…
He told great stories. One of my favorites was about him playing high school football when there were no face masks. Players only wore a thin leather helmet. He broke both eyebrow bones and both collar bones. We would laugh together as he told how the offensive linemen chewed tobacco so they could stream the juice in the defensive line’s faces to confuse them just before the ball was snapped.
He made life fun. If you said, “Please pass the cereal,” he would throw you the box! He loved to play games and tell jokes. 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 (in the above photo he was seventy-two and I was thirteen).
He imparted life wisdom. 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. I went through it. Incredibly, we were on the way to Daddy B.’s funeral when this happened.
He encouraged me. He always believed in me and my potential with sports, music, and serving others. He told me how practice and hard work would make a difference in the long run. As I entered the business world, he taught me to say “It would be a joy and privilege to serve you” for each opportunity.
He was a man of prayer. “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 were together. His personal relationship with God fed my desire to know God and hear His voice.
These are just a few memories of this beloved man of character, passion and faith. I loved Daddy B. I will always remember the blessing he was in my life, and how his spontaneous joy and creativity were an inspiration to me.
Who is your Daddy B? Can you be a “Daddy B” for someone?
Psalm 100:1 “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.”