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Column: Heart-rending memories

John T. Catrett, III
Contributing writer
John Catrett

When I was five, a huge, mighty, awesome dark river surged swiftly onward not far from the front door of my house.

When I was ten, my river, similar to a magic pumpkin, had changed into a babbling brook interspersed with stones large enough for running, flying leaping, and splashing wet landings.

When I was fifteen, I was surprised to find my brook to be a very tiny placid stream; hardly a ripple disturbed its hushed meandering.  Its bank was the perfect, peaceful place to sit and dream my dreams.

One of these days I hope to have a little John Thomas IV by my side.  We will walk hand in hand down a well-worn path.  I am eager to show him his own mighty rushing river.

I love my dad.  There was a time in my life when I could not say that honestly.  But, because of Jesus, and His allowing me to grow spiritually through faith, I can honestly and sincerely say I love my father very much.

My dad has taught me some very important things about life.  They were hard to see when I was growing up, but now as I look back, they shine so brightly I wonder how I missed them at time.  He taught me that:

1 I should always be a man of my word.  If my dad said he was going to do something, he definitely did it.

2 It is crucial to be considerate of other people no matter who they are.

3 All Catretts love to laugh, tease and kid.  We’ll travel to great lengths to play a joke or pull someone’s leg.  Even at serious times, you’ll find Catretts laughing so hard that tears will be running down their faces.

4 Loving and enjoying life is of the utmost importance, along with accepting those things I cannot change with a smile on my lips, a warm glow in my heart, and my head held high.

Thank you Dad, for loving and caring for me even when I was so ungrateful and detached in those late teenage, and early adult years.

I’m so thankful you have forgiven me for my insensitivity toward you during that time.

May God watch over, protect and guide you, and continue to make Jesus real to you for the rest of your life.  May you and all the other dads of the world have a happy Father’s Day with your families!  I love you, Daddy.

Your eldest and loving son,


I wrote this article while my father was alive for others when I was in my mid-thirties.  My father died ten days short of his ninetieth birthday.  At his funeral I went around visiting with our family, and when I came to his one sister and three brothers, I asked each one this question:  “Do you ever remember if my father and your brother ever confessed Christ as Savior?”  They all had the same answer: “No.”  They never remembered him accepting Jesus.  How sad!

That thought caused my heart and mind to wander to the times when I shared my faith in Christ Jesus with my dad, and he always rejected me.  He wasn’t mean or hateful, but he dismissed my endeavors to plant the seeds of faith in his life.  Ninety years of rejecting the grace of God!  To me that is heartrending!  So fathers, please share with your children and grandchildren about your faith or lack of faith.  Tell them clearly your desires about the end of your life.  Please do not leave them wondering or guessing about eternal destiny.

John T. Catrett, III

ONHL Hospice Chaplain