My Two Dads & A Favorite Christmas Present

I’m shaking things up a bit today and I’m going to showcase a handmade item that I did not make. I told you that my favorite Christmas present would get its own post, and this is the post, but you have to have a little back story first.

My Two Dads

Daddy-O, my Daddy-O, is a very creative and talented kind of guy. He’s an artist on so many levels…painting,

favorite Christmas present

This is one of Daddy-O’s paintings from 1966.


Daddy-O paints what he loves...

Daddy-O paints what he loves…


Made by my Daddy-O...the larger one is marked '75.

Made by my Daddy-O…the larger one is marked ’75.

boat building,daboat


…and also has a thing for classic cars.

Daddy-O is restoring this '48 Chevy truck.

Daddy-O is restoring this ’48 Chevy truck.

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That's my Daddy-O!

That’s my Daddy-O!

He used to sew quite a bit, and I still have a blouse he made for me when I was in college.

Modeled by Debbie DuctTape.

Modeled by Debbie DuctTape.

He’s also an amazing cook, a skilled handyman, and he’s pretty darn good at leatherwork.  A real jack of all trades, this guy.

My stepfather, who was also an artist on so many levels…custom knife making,

A Damascus hunter.

A Damascus hunter.

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wood carving,photo 1 (62)

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building custom rifles, creative writing….the list goes on… passed away last spring. Papa had been my Papa since I was four years old, and I miss him so much it hurts. He left behind a legacy in all of his beautiful artwork, and each of us kids (my siblings, our spouses, my children, my nieces and nephews) came away with so many pieces of Papa that we will always treasure.

Any Christmas present I have ever received that was handmade by either of these two special men has been my favorite Christmas present.

A Favorite Christmas Present

Over the past several months, I have helped Madre go through some of Papa’s things that were left behind after all of the important people in Papa’s life had gotten what they wanted. One thing that was picked over and left behind was a leather belt that Papa wore back in the day….way back. It’s old, worn, and obviously was well-used.  It’s stamped with the name “Dave”, which wasn’t what he went by, and I assume that was why it was left behind by everyone else. Madre asked me if I wanted it, and I immediately said yes.  I had a vision for the belt, but one that I could not carry out on my own.

So I gave it to Daddy-O, with a request, which leads me to my favorite Christmas present of all time, and probably for years to come.

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Figured it out yet?

Figured it out yet?

Papa’s belt is now a beautiful guitar strap, made by Daddy-O, just for me.  I cherish it, and I can’t express how deeply touched I was by this gesture (or in other words, how bad the water-works started when I opened it). How could this not be a favorite Christmas present?

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I love you, Daddy-O. And I love that you loved Papa, too.

My Un-Broken Family

I come from a “broken family” (gasp!), but I feel like one of the most blessed of God’s children because of it, and because we were never “broken”. Madre never talked badly about Daddy-O, Daddy-O never talked badly about Madre, and they both have always loved and appreciated both of my step-parents for being good parents to us. I grew up with four awesome parents, and I really don’t understand how anyone can consider that a bad thing. I also have three siblings that I would not have been blessed with had my parents stayed together – three amazing and wonderful people who I can not imagine my life without. I have aunts, uncles and cousins all over the Deep South who have made my life richer and happier, and I wouldn’t have ever known many of them without the D-I-V-O-R-C-E. I guess it’s just another example of God’s ability to make lemonade out of lemons, and I’m so thankful. All of that is more than a favorite Christmas present; it’s a life present.

So, I guess I showcased more than one thing (that I didn’t make), but I don’t see any reason to keep all of that fabulous-ness to myself. There is a lot of talent oozing through this family, so I’m sure I will be sharing other family members with you in the future. Like my musician brother who is blazing his own trail in the custom knife-making world.  His oldest son, my nephew, is picking up where Papa left off as a gunsmith.  His wife, my sister-in-law, has settled herself into wood-working, and is doing great things.  My other brother is quite the musician, too, and I just feel certain I’m going to see him on national T.V. someday reading me the news.  Jimmie, well, she’s your favorite.  She’s also an extremely gifted writer, which you can find out for yourself here.  Squirt, my youngest sister, builds houses for a living, plays guitar, is quite the photographer, and just has a one-of-a-kind personality.  All five of us, with our mixture of Mamas and Daddies, have been rained upon with creativity our whole lives.  That is a true gift.

What was your favorite Christmas present?

X,O,X,O,   Martie