Jack Harville Barker named his son Jack Harville Barker, Jr. He was quite proud to have given the seed that formed this red headed baby boy. All dads want a son to carry on the family name and I was that hope for my Dad.

Thankfully, Momma & Daddy gave me a cool name, “Jay”, or I would have been Junior or Jack Junior or little Jack. So first off, Dad gave me a good name. “Jay Barker”.

Secondly, Daddy gave me a loving home. At our house, Momma stayed home and Dad worked, and I worked, once I was big enough.

We had dinner at the table every night, we prayed before meals and at bedtime and on Sundays. We watched TV together and I was the “TV Flicker”. We had one of those antennas that had a motor and I would turn the TV to channel 3, 4 or 7 and then turn the motor dial to change the antenna setting to find the new channel. We had a color TV. It was turquoise and white with a black and white and gray picture, and a fine tuning knob that emitted a high pitched squeal that never stopped. I can remember living in Clarksville, TN and our neighbor across the street got a real color TV and on Sunday night, Daddy would let me go watch Bonanza in color. It was the only show in color for some time.

We had window A/C units that cooled our house and I swear one was always in my room that had to be left on constantly to help cool the entire house. So I learned to freeze summer and winter (our wall unit heaters were not in my room).

Daddy gave me a work ethic that has guided me through the obstacles of enterprise, from an early age. I was required to mow the yard or do “weed pullin’”, and most of the time I was given “after the fact” instructions of how to do what I did better. Dad’s quest for me to do things perfectly was a burden of “I never do anything right” for me. But… all those correctional instructions made me the best damn yard mower I have ever seen, outside of my Dad.

I worked for Charlie Penn in Milan, picking strawberries for pennies a quart and I cleaned the gym up after Milan Bulldog Basketball games with my buddy Marty Irby. I pitched watermelons for Larry Flowers’ dad and unloaded truckloads of various veggies, and….. I mowed yards.

In the summers, I worked at Camp Clark Williamson as the grounds keeper then later added the responsibilities of lifeguard and garbage detail. I loved my work at the church camp and generally liked working… cause my Dad taught me how to work…. excellently.

I credit my Dad to this day for pushing me back then. My son has worked full time since he was 14… he is now 22 with 8 year’s experience under the “mean ole Daddy” who happens to be me. The apple don’t fall far from the tree.

Most importantly, Daddy taught me that the spiritual part of man needs food, just as the physical side does. If I face the bad things of life, and I do, my spiritual strength always carries me through to the other side. So I raised my kids up in the church, force feeding them the spiritual food of love, hope, faith and grace. They may not know it now, but it is the most valuable gift I gave them, other than life itself.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a plethora of understandings of religions and I don’t feel any one of them holds the whole bucket of truth, but there is truth in them all. And the truth is, everyone has a spiritual side and it must be fed and nurtured or we are out of balance and our soul is without good karma. Without good and good karma, people are miserable and those around them are also miserable. On the other hand, good karma from a well balanced soul and heart lights a room up and those exposed to it.

I love to tell this little story I read in the Tao of Wille: a Native American grandfather was asked by his grandson, “What am I, good or bad?” and grandpa says, “My son, you are both good and bad. Inside our hearts lives a bad wolf and a good wolf and they are constantly fighting for your heart.” Listening wide eyed, the little boy asked, “Which one wins grandpa?” “The one you feed son, the one you feed.”

We are all good and bad, but if we will not feed the bad wolf, and only feed the good wolf, the bad wolf will become so weak it will not challenge the good wolf that is fed and nurtured, and strong.
Daddy taught me that, but in different words and ways. It is an ABSOLUTE TRUTH, always right.

Concerning family, Dad taught me the order of love in a family and it goes like this: husband loves wife most…. period. There was seldom any family matter that Momma disagreed with Daddy about. The wife loves the kids less than Dad, but more than anything else in the world. A lot of today’s family problems are caused by the incorrect order of love structure and parents don’t back each other up and husbands don’t put their wife first.

In my teen day, I once talked mean to Momma and hurt her feelings and when Dad got home he was grittin’ teeth mad. He let me know in no uncertain terms, that the slap I got would not be open handed next time I talked to “his wife” that way. He went on to explain he loved me, but he loved his wife more. It was a lesson well learned. Each of you would do well to learn the order of love in a “healthy family”.

Finally, Dad taught me to pray. When you really want something and you have done all you can physically do, tap into your spiritual power. I have seen many small miracles and felt the peace of prayer throughout my life. So today I pray for my Dad, who has been recently diagnosed with the onset of Parkinson’s disease. I am  relieved that it was not Alzheimer’s, and his disease treatable.

I pray and thank the Lord for all my Daddy has taught me and I ask for the things be done for him, I cannot do. What I can do is be a good father and teach my children and any that will listen, every day with Dad is a treasure given to those who have time for Dads.

I will talk about the greatest man I have ever met in later entries…. My Dad, Jack Harville Barker.  I hope you have had the pleasure of hearing Daddy preach or pray, and thank God I had the pleasure of hearing him say, “That’s my wife and you are second to her, but I love you more than anything else.”

So by teaching me these things, what my Dad “did for me” was give me the tools to fight the good fight, standing up for what I think is right, even if it is not what you believe, and work 4 everything I get.

“Keep your eye on the ball”, for baseball, “see what you hit and hit what you see” for football, and “always hustle” no matter if its work or sport.

As a matter of fact, I can’t tell you all the things Dad did for me because he is so smart I have yet to realize it all. He helps me and my kids to this day, in his way and without him I would have not been the man I am today. I am the son of a good man and I am blessed by his service and life,…… and his wife.  My wife….Lady Di….the number 1 love of my life…..my wife.

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