Remembering my father’s special gifts

By Michael Brannon

Often you hear the quote “Life’s Journey” and not until my later years did I give it much thought. We all look back and have those days when we question how much we have or should have accomplished. And more times than not, we feel like we’ve fallen short.

This morning, like most Sunday mornings, I listen to some of my favorite hymns and take the journey back to the Sunday mornings my father would put on his white “Sunday” shirt with the worn-out collar, but stiff with starch, and turn to his favorite hymns in “The Baptist Hymnal.” His voice would not ring to the rafters, but it had that calming effect that sincerity brings.

Joseph Wiley Brannon

Joseph Wiley Brannon

His rendition of “Amazing Grace,” “In The Garden” and others were etched deep in my soul for listening to on days like today as the rain accompanies him.

Joseph Wiley Brannon of Eupora had no idea and probably did not give much thought to what his journey in life was, and not until he told me, “Mike, I’ll never get out of here (hospital),” did he probably give it much time. When I sit down in the quietness of my home surrounded by Tee, Bear, Smokey and my four-legged friends, I allow myself to travel back.

My father’s journey, and all of our parents’ journeys are more in our thoughts and memories than theirs. For we are the ones that benefit from the journey they begin when we are born and until they are called home.

Part of his legacy and his journey were the things he left me for these Sunday mornings. I am able to close my eyes, pull up that etched photo of him in my memory bank and hear his sweet voice. So many different artists have performed the Vince Gill song “Go Rest High on That Mountain” and the lyrics that “your work on earth is done.” His hard work, his devotion to his family and his love for music that he shared with his voice were special gifts to his children and even more so as we age.

So much we take for granted concerning our parents, and so much we fail to see in this microwave, frozen-biscuit era blinds us to what they sacrificed, which was mostly their time.

This morning, after you read this, shut your eyes, drift back, and think about your mother and father. If possible, listen to a few of their favorite hymns, but make sure, if you’re fortunate enough to still have them in your life, you call to express love and appreciation. One day the only way you will have to communicate with them is through the memories they left you.

Eupora native Michael Brannon of Hernando may be contacted at