November 5

Lessons from my Dad:

1. Finish what you start. Seriously, even if that means finishing a 6th grade softball game before going to the ER for stitches in your mouth.

2. Double check that the doors are locked before going to bed. A habit I’ve carried into adulthood.

3. Be a winner”. I think he’s referring to being an Alabama fan with this one but… still applies.

4. “You won’t meet your husband at sky bar”. When I moved to college he told me that before he and my Mom drove home. Senior year Presley should have really believed him on that one.

5. Career first, then boys. Any time anyone asks me about a boyfriend HE responds and says “we’re getting our career together before worrying about boys”. “Stupid boys” he usually says.

6. Everyone in this world puts their pants on one leg at a time”. Therefore nobody should intimidate me, he always says.

7. Check your tires AND oil before a road trip. Just do it. To date, he is NOT wrong about that one.

8. “Stop worrying about a stupid diet. People don’t care about size, and if they do they aren’t worth your time.” That one speaks for itself.

9. “If his handshake is weak, I’m already not impressed”. Mom says I should have listened to that piece of advice during college too.

10. Don’t open texts from weird numbers. Instead screenshot them and send them to your daughter and say “what is this”? And make her figure it out.

11. Don’t ever think you’re too good for anything or anyone. If I ever got too big for my britches he’d make me go to Christo’s for lunch while smelling like chicken houses just to remind me of that one.

12. Love your people. My Dad will do anything for his friends and family. If he likes you, you’re in for a treat. He’s mowed grass, helped people move, rode shotgun on last minute road trips, and driven to Auburn countless times for silly stuff. Lots of times for car issues (which is where lesson number 7 comes in).

13. “Presley it’s just (insert phrases such as: a bug/some dirt/ various types of animals/ a Log Splitter/ a chain saw/ someone in a mask/ a million other things that I don’t like) it won’t hurt you”.

14. Practice makes perfect. This is mostly in reference to my lack of cooking skills.

15. “What do I pay for a cellphone for if you don’t ever answer it”. In other words, always answer your phone.

A girl has got to learn to be tough “or this world will eat you alive” he always says. He tried to teach me to be tough. He put me to work in the chicken houses after school and on Saturday for years. I’ve helped chop wood and rode in tractors and shot guns for as far back as I can remember. He really tried to make me tough. Thankfully he loves me despite that failure.

I do think he wishes I was a bit meaner, honestly. But I got my tender heart from him (don’t believe it if he says he’s anything other than a big old teddy bear). But, he’s mighty and wonderful and full of wisdom that I’ll forever remember.

I was scared of my Dad growing up. Scared of disappointing him, of not living up to his expectations, of not making him proud. I needed him to believe in me, and I still do. I’ll never forget sitting in the Auburn arena during my college graduation and getting a “This is what we’ve been waiting for. I’m so proud of you” text from him. I’ll never forget bursting into tears at that moment or the biggest hug after I got my diploma. There a few moments that will ever live up to that one.

I taught him how to use Spotify, and he attempted to teach me how to play softball and basketball. I call him with car questions and he calls me when he can’t remember the password to something. We smack talk each other during football season and play jokes on each other constantly. His laugh is so distinctive and fills my heart to the brim.

He’s my best pal and he and my Mom are my number one fans. I’m their number one fan too, and I’ll forever cry every time I leave their house. It’s nostalgia. It’s my favorite place in the world. But mostly it’s my two most favorite people in the world that it’s so hard to leave I’d give anything to never have to again.

He sees me as the person I want to be. He talks about me with a twinkle in his eye and so much pride in his voice that I can’t help but choke up constantly and pray that one day I’m the woman that he expects me to be.

He and my Mom have sacrificed everything to give me an amazing life and I don’t know that I’ve deserved any of it but I’ll spend my whole life trying to love them enough to make up for it.

As much as I’d like to think he did, My daddy didn’t hang the moon. but he was created by a God who did and I’m so grateful God chose me to be LaDon Townsend’s daughter.

“It’s just another day,” he always says. But I think November 5 is anything but ordinary. Happy Birthday, Daddy. November 5 is a celebration because of you. Eternally grateful for you and your LaDon Townsend tendencies.

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