george & wendy show

Wendy Parker

A father’s love

| June 15, 2014
Rex Benton with his mom (my Granny), Willie Benton
Rex Benton with his mom (my Granny), Willie Benton

Today is usually kind of a hard day for me. I lost my Dad 17 years ago — cancer took him when he was just 46 years old. I think of him a lot, and Father’s Day is more of a day for reflection than celebration for me.

My Dad was a helluva guy. There weren’t many people who met him that didn’t like him. He was funny, and he taught me to make fun of bad things instead of crying about them. My sense of humor comes largely from him, as I think farts and scatological jokes are hilarious, and they were some of his favorites. Every cousin I have was sucked into the “pull my finger” joke by him at least once, and I’m pretty sure they all laughed. I know he did.

The Benton Men (my original father figures): Left to right, Perry Benton (Grandad), Rex Benton (Daddy), Bruce Benton (Uncle Bruce) and Philip Benton (Uncle Flip)
The Benton Men (my original father figures): Left to right, Perry Benton (Grandad), Rex Benton (Daddy), Bruce Benton (Uncle Bruce) and Philip Benton (Uncle Flip)

When I was little, I thought he was the meanest person on earth. He wouldn’t cater to me like everyone else would; if I couldn’t get my shoes on and tied by myself, I was left sitting on the porch. He didn’t put up with any bull from anyone, and he expected everyone to pull their own weight.

When I was six years old, we pulled into the 7-Eleven to buy bait for our Saturday afternoon fishing trip. Unbeknownst to him, he had pulled into an armed robbery in progress and parked us right in front of it. When the bullets started flying, my first instinct was to pop my little head up and look for the source. I was so heartbroken when he shoved me down into the floorboard and covered me up with his own body, so I couldn’t see what was going on. I cried and cried and thought again that I had the meanest Daddy in the world.

When I got older and looked back on that day, I realized I had the bravest Daddy ever. He didn’t hesitate to put himself in between me and flying bullets and he would have gladly given his life for mine that day. Luckily, neither one of us was hurt, but it took a lot of growing up to realize the true, unconditional love he had for me.

Related

A memorial to my brother

The story of 1LT James Lyons' death in military combat in Iraq, told in the voice of Wendy Parker's brother, SGT Lehi Benton.

There are a lot of Dads out on the road today. They won’t be home for Father’s Day or the Little League games or the ballet recitals. There will be a lot of kids who think their Daddy is the meanest Daddy in the world for not showing up to the childhood milestones. It will take a lot of growing up for them to realize their fathers are out here, making a living and making life better for everyone, and missing a lot of their own family events in the process.

Here’s to all the trucker Dads today. Thank you for what you do. Happy Father’s Day.