Maybe far away Or maybe real nearby He may be pouring her coffee She may be straighting his tie! Maybe in a house All hidden by a hill She’s sitting playing piano, He’s sitting paying a bill!*
He was born “Baby boy Bigham” on March 23rd, fifty-one years ago to a young girl in rural Kansas who would leave the hospital without him. When he was 5 days old, the Rhoades family signed adoption papers and picked him up there, where he’d been left to himself those first important days. That precarious beginning is probably why little David Allen Rhoades, a gentle-hearted, deeply-dimpled boy grew up to be such a family man, so devoted to creating a large, loving, caring and loyal family. And why his motto is, and the kids still laugh about it, “Never go against the family,” from The Godfather.
*Betcha they’re young Betcha they’re smart Bet they collect things Like ashtrays, and art! Betcha they’re good — (Why shouldn’t they be?) Their one mistake Was giving up me! So maybe now it’s time, And maybe when I wake They’ll be there calling me “Baby”… Maybe.
When Dave married me and took Tara as his own daughter on July 23, 1981, he alleviated my parents’ fears for her future by telling them he now understood why he’d been given in adoption. He found purpose, believing he could become her daddy and they’d have that special *chosen* bond in common, something they would understand about each other.
And when he proposed, he looked into our future and told me, “I want you to be the mother of my children.” I could not have comprehended the depth of the honor of that request in that moment, lovesick and swept away by emotion as I was. But in saying yes! I do! I have reaped the benefit of being married to a man who has been committed to building a lasting heritage, a legacy that will live on for a very long time.
*Betcha he reads Betcha she sews Maybe she’s made me A closet of clothes! Maybe they’re strict As straight as a line… Don’t really care As long as they’re mine!
He is an extraordinary “poppa,” loving those grandbabies zealously. As for his passionate love for his children? His pride and pleasure in the people his children have become and the spouses they have chosen? It’s evident in his beam when he speaks of them to his students or friends.
He teaches. He preaches. He stretches his own canvases and paints in color. He sings and dances and acts – on stage! He writes books and has story after story inside him – just waiting to be told!
He is honoring to my mom and respects my dad so much. He is a pal to my siblings and loves the nieces and nephews. He reminds me to call my mom and anytime I mention going to visit my parents he says: Do it, honey. You should go. They’ll like that.
Dave is a thoughtful man, making sure the toilet ring is never up to surprise me, and he never forgets to take the trash out on the right day. He’s man enough to buy *woman-stuff* for me and just seems to divine when I must have a Cheetos night 2 or 3 times a year – as if he just knew that nothing else on that night would suffice.
He does dishes and laundry (not big on folding, but he hangs anything and everything that can be hung and seems to enjoy it – which is why I will keep letting him do it). He cooks for me if I need him to and tucks cash in to my wallet just because. He charges my phone, fills the gas tank and carries heavy stuff for me.
Dave is a nice guy and a good husband. And I am mostly thankful that even though I kinda think I am, he tells me I am not crazy. And he sees my drive and tendency to jump into the deep end of life (he has called it, going at everything in life “like a house on fire“) as me being passionate, alive and lively. And he likes that about me.
Loving and loved.
So today, I celebrate Dave’s life. Even though 51 years ago he was alone, today he is surrounded by hundreds of students and family and friends and even fans (he was a spectacular Daddy Warbucks) who know his worth and his value and how lucky they are to know him. I know I am.
And I am happy that he spent the last 6 months getting that A1c level down from 13-14% to 6% and has taken huge strides in reversing his Type 2 Diabetes! He is healthier now than he has been for 5+ years. I have always loved those Perry Mason-broad shoulders and I am so proud of him, he is looking good! So glad that we’ll be celebrating his birth and the life he lives for many years to come!
Happy birthday, my husband. I love you. I am loving all the changes.
And so glad the hair will be growing back now, too!
*So maybe now this prayer’s The last one of it’s kind… Won’t you please come get your “Baby” Maybe…Pictured: Top, Dave at age 1, then at age 4 or 5 with his mom and in April 1981 speaking at chapel at Northwest Bible College just before he graduated. Next, Dave and the original 4 daughters at Stonebrook Manor last week. Then, watching a video of his Annie performance with some of the grandbebes one Sunday night (Gavin, Guini, Gemma, and Averi); Next, Dave with some of the grandkids the night he was going to be getting his hair shaved off (Hunter, Averi, Guini and Gemma). Then, Dave at Stonebrook Manor for one of the fundraising dinners, Dave backstage with some “orphans” from Annie. Finally, Dave and I at Stonebrook Manor last week and on our way to a Heaven Fest potluck a couple of weeks ago.
*Lyrics: “Maybe” from Annie, the song that made Dave tear up at almost every performance over the past couple of months…because he understood…