• 79°

Grateful for being raised by an outdoor dad

My nephew called my father his “outdoor grandfather.” Dad always had his grandchildren on a boat, in the woods or in the yard. He loved them as he did us — teaching them about nature, gardening and farming. With today being Father’s Day, I can’t help but be grateful that I was raised by my “outdoor dad.”

Dad was a farmer. He grew up in Itta Bena — a little Mississippi Delta town. He knew how to fix anything and made sure his two daughters did, too. I wasn’t allowed to drive a car until I could change a tire and check the oil. He taught me how to garden, fish, hunt and swing a hammer. He shared with me his love of Mississippi State, his incredible work ethic and hopefully his common sense too.   

We moved to Starkville when I was in first grade. Dad went to graduate school and retired as a professor in the Department of Agronomy.   I too received my BS degree in agronomy, continued to graduate school receiving a MS in horticulture. I wanted to be just like my ‘outdoor dad’.

We lost Dad four years ago. I still reach for the phone — wanting to tell him about my day or ask his advice. He was the smartest man I have ever known. I can still hear him say, “kid, I love you and am so proud of you.”

Instead of being sad today I will be grateful. Grateful for all the things he taught me, the love and respect we shared. I will be grateful for being raised by an “outdoor dad.” #Hailstate

Rebecca Bates is an MSU Extension-Lincoln County agent, and can be reached at 601-835-3460 or by e-mail at rebecca.bates@msstate.edu.