Happiness News – Father’s Day Thoughts

A friend at church recently asked me to write a reflection for a booklet she was putting together, honoring men who have had a defining influence in the writer’s life. I thought I’d share what I wrote, since it’s about my Dad, and Happiness Hills is his dream.
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I’m sitting at my father’s desk to write this piece, with my laptop open on top of the slide-out section that I used to sit at to help my dad reconcile the family accounts when I was a child. Mom and Dad left the desk with Alfredo and me when they retired and moved to a smaller home. It’s a huge desk; solid wood with heavy drawers that could use a bit of wax to make them easier to maneuver. Soon it will sit in a space designed especially for it, in our new house. It reminds me of the great lessons I have learned from my father, and the responsibility I have to carry on some of the things he started. In 1973 Mom and Dad were the leaders of the first group of teen dancers to go to Denmark on the Danish American Exchange. This fall, I’ll be sitting at the old desk to finalize plans for 100 Danish students to visit Berea for a week, and there will be others to plan for as my responsibilities with Berea College increase. In 1984, Dad started the Berea Festival Dancers, a group that I asked him to lead for my friends and me while we were in high school. He asked Theresa Lowder to take over after I graduated, and some of you know the wonderful things she has done with the group since. Theresa has now asked me to take over when she retires in 2015. This desk will once again have stacks of dance instructions and Festival Dancers trip plans on its surface. In 2006 Dad bought some land and followed God’s leading to build what is now Happiness Hills Farm. I have enjoyed working with Dad to make his vision a reality, and I am honored to be his partner in continuing the work we do there. This desk belonged to an intrepid innovator, a wise judge, a clever manager, a great leader, a gifted administrator, a committed peacemaker, a patient teacher, and a loving father. I am eternally grateful for the lessons I learned at this desk, and for the lessons I continue to learn from the man who used it all those years. His joints creak a little, like the drawers on his desk, but he still works every bit as hard as I do. He’s not a very large man, but he’s solidly built – I still can’t out-lift him – and he’s a spiritual giant in my estimation. He never made any major decision without asking God to lead him, and he made sure all of his children knew how important it was to seek and maintain a deep relationship with Christ. I depend on Dad’s strength and I can only pray God will make me strong enough for him to lean on when he needs me. I thank God for letting me be Bill Ramsay’s baby girl.

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