My Dad Is Better Than Yours

the author and her dad, Hoot
When my dad was in college, there was a well-known American rodeo champion and actor in Hollywood’s cowboy film industry named Hoot Gibson. Since my dad’s surname was Gipson, and because he loved making people laugh, one of his classmates started calling him “Hoot,” and the name stuck.
As Father’s Day approaches every year, social media platforms are flooded with photos, memories, and stories about remarkable fathers with incredible accomplishments. In comparison, my “regular” dad was not a remarkable man. He wasn’t a decorated soldier, he didn’t become a millionaire, no buildings were named for him, and he didn’t create a charitable foundation or establish a college scholarship fund.
But here’s what Hoot did.
He believed in “til death do us part” and he was faithfully married to our mom for nearly 50 years.
Hoot and his wife raised two children who became successful, happy, law-abiding adults who, to date, have not been in prison.
He taught us thousands of dad jokes and one-liners. Dad couldn’t pass a “Stop Ahead” sign without slamming on the brakes and yelling, “Stop! A head!”
Hoot whistled his way through life. I was 10 years old before I found out that my dad did not write the Andy Griffith theme song.
He taught all of his kids and grandkids how to lick a plate clean. Literally.
He taught us how to plant tomatoes (deep) and squash (in mounds).

He taught us how to mow the yard. The job isn’t complete until you’ve used the weed eater and the edger, and if you blow grass into the street, clean it up.

He convinced us that multi-colored Christmas lights are prettier than all white lights. Hoot was right.
He had his own Santa suit, and every Christmas Eve, he would knock on the neighbors’ doors and ask to speak to their children.

He believed that vacations were best remembered by the people met and the food eaten rather than by the destination.

Hoot was a lifelong Methodist, tithing and attending church his entire life.

He sang—in his college choir, in church choirs, in gospel groups, and in barber shop quartets.
Hoot stood next to me in church until I could sing harmony to every song in the Cokesbury hymnal (all four parts).
Once a week, he visited church members and friends in nursing homes.
When there were visitors at church, Hoot showed up at their door within a few days with a loaf of homemade bread (that he baked himself).
When the small church that he attended needed a larger building, Hoot went to his college Alma Mater and convinced them to donate the land for a new church building.
He was a model of Christianity for his family, his friends, and to anyone who ever met him.
There are dozens of Bible verses that are appropriate for Father’s Day, but Proverbs 20:7 perfectly sums up my dad’s life: “Blessed are the children of the righteous.”
Thank you, Hoot, for the blessing.

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