I am My Fathersí Son: A Tribute to Dad
Administration and Operations Columbus Avenue Baptist Church
I was a sophomore in high school in 1971 and the summer before I
started school I passed Drivers Ed and got my driverís license. Little
did I know at that time, it was the start of twenty three years
working side by side with my dad! Our family owned a retail auto parts
store in Corpus Christi, Texas. My sold auto parts for as long as I
can remember growing up. At one point in our family history, my entire
family worked at the retail store: my dad and mom, my two sisters, my
brother, and now myself. You see, as soon as I got my driverís
license, my dad put me to work driving the delivery truck for the auto
parts store. I worked every Saturday during the school year, then all
week during the summer.
My dad was very well known in the auto parts industry as one of the
most honest business owners and with high integrity. Sure he had his
faults, but George Cadden was a great business man. After I graduated
from high school, dad put me to work full time. I still lived at home
and we rode together every day to and from work and went home for
lunch every day to momís cooking. Dad not only gave me a job, but he
taught me the art of owning a business. I worked my way up like anyone
else would from delivery driver, to counter sales, to store manager.
All along the way, dad was teaching me skills.
He was amazing at customer service and taught me that, more than
anything else. Almost every customer that came in the store knew my
dad by name and would buy some parts, then chat with dad for a few
minutes. His sales philosophy was ďnever lose a saleĒ. He went to
great lengths to find the right part to fill every order. If we didnít
have it there on hand, he would always offer to locate the part and
have it for pick up later that day. Employee turnover in the parts
store was very low because my father was the best boss ever. I heard
that over and over and witnessed it firsthand. Dad was a hand- on
business owner and did all the ordering, worked the sales counter, and
handled the general business operations.
We had a great routine that we performed daily for ten years. Dad
would get the coffee going and open the back warehouse up and I would
count the money from the day before and get the change drawer ready
for the new day. At opening time he would flip on all the lights up
front and would unlock the front door. Ready for business! At closing
I got to lock the front door, he flipped off all the lights, and
turned the coffee pot off, and would pull the money and hide it in the
parts bin somewhere until the next morningís counting. We did the same
thing like that for ten years together! We worked side by side from
1971 until 1981 when my father decided to sell the parts store and
retire. That was a very emotional time for him and my mom and me.
Thatís all we knew and was our lively hood for so many years.
Dad retired and we sold the parts store and all moved from Corpus to
Arlington, Texas. My brother and his family lived there and we loved
the climate and the different terrain from the beach we knew so well.
I started my own business from that point. During the first several
years in my new business, selling auto parts of course, my business
grew exponentially. I needed help and where else would I find the
right personÖbut my dad. In a flash he was there working for me now
and we were selling parts together again only this time we sold
wholesale to garages and dealers. We were a great team and I was
utilizing the skills my dad had taught me as a young man. We worked
another 5 years together until I sold my business to follow Gods call
on my life into full time ministry. My dad once again retired and in
1986 I started seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
My dad would have preferred to work until the day he passed away in
2000. He was a worker, a teacher, a father, a granddad, a husband, a
family man, an uncle, a Deacon, a people person, a friend, a helper,
and a follower of Christ. He was a simple man with lots of laughter
and fun in him. I donít remember a time where he raised his voice to
me growing up. The one thing even today that my dad and I have in
common is cars. My dad had his share of cars and loved tinkering with
them and making them shine. I do the same today. I am my fatherís son!
Itís now been fourteen years since my dad passed away and yet the
memories of him are as vivid as ever. Why is that? I believe that my
dad instilled into me that family is so important. Itís not about what
you can get in life; itís about what you can give. My dad would
literally give the shirt off his back if you needed it. He invested
in family and made that his priority. Those vivid memories I still
have are of all the family vacations we took all over the place, all
the family reunions we attended, all the barbeques in the back yard my
dad cooked, all the games we played together, and all the house
projects we did together and how he taught me handy man skills. He
knew I would get in trouble at times growing up and when I messed up,
he disciplined me then loved me through it. He knew when I was broke
and would always slide me a $20 or $50 bill from the hidden place in
his wallet. Those are the dad things that build vivid memories that
last for eternity.
Disclaimer: Although this article is about my dad and me, my mom was
just as important in our family and the same holds true for me today.
My wife is a critical in our family.
Fast forward to the 90ís! We were raising three great kids during that
time. Little did they know that I was doing the same things the way my
dad raised me and they turned out to be three of the most respectful
Christian adults you can be around. As my kids grew up we took family
vacations all over the place, we attended family reunions together, we
barbequed in the backyard all the time, we played games and cards at
home a lot, and watched endless movies together as a family. When my
kids were broke I would slip them some cash from my wallet just like
my dad did, when they got in trouble they got disciplined but then we
loved them through it all, and we knew they would mess up so we just
prepared ourselves as parents.
Fast forward to 2005-2014! Two of our three kids have kids of their
own and are raising them the same way my dad raised me and we raised
them. They do lots of family vacations, watch movies together, go to
the park, grill in the backyard, and make family a high priority. What
a legacy my dad started back in the 60ís as I was growing up. He made
family a priority, I made family a priority, and now my kids are
making family a priority! I can only assume that my dadís dad did the
same thing with him growing up.
I greatly miss not having my dad here with me coaching me along lifeís
journey. If I had one more time with him I would tell him, ďDad, you
raised me so well. My childhood was fun because of you. I became a
businessman just like you taught me. Dad, I slipped my kids some cash
when they were broke just like you did to me. I see now why you did it
when their face lights up. And Dad, I took my family on long vacations
just like you did with me and our family. Dad, my grandkids call me
PaPa just like you were named by your grand kids. Dad, thank you for
working with me side by side for 20+ years teaching me to be the man I
am today. I miss you dad!Ē
If you are a dad, please know that you are so important in your family
and can make a huge difference in leaving a lasting family legacy. If
you are a dad and estranged from your family, start the reconciliation
process today. If you are a dad and family is not a priority, you can
change that today by removing those things that hinder you from being
dad. Whatever it takes, be the dad.
Associate Pastor of Administration and Operations
Columbus Avenue Baptist Church