Smooth Sailing: Dad’s at the Helm

Those who go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; 
These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.”
Psalm 107:23
Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  
I’m sharing this marvelous vintage image of a tall sailing ship in honor of my father, today.  He is a great lover of the sea and all things nautical.  And, why wouldn’t he be?  God truly out-did Himself creating all the magnificent wonders of sea and open sky.  Rolling waves, salty breezes, and living creatures at once graceful, sublime, and terrible!  Adventure is to be had on the sea.  It called to my dad in his youth and he responded in eagerness.
Dad turned eighteen prior to his senior year in high school.  He expected the draft to visit his house, and was proud to serve his country – but he really preferred the Navy.  Hence his decision to enlist in the Navy forthwith thereby missing his graduation year.  Many young men were making sacrifices like this at the time.  My father never regretted it.  

He served proudly on the USS Hermitage, traveling to the Pacific Theater transporting soldiers here and there, and working largely in the aftermath of the war during our nation’s stabilizing and peacekeeping efforts.
I believe he might have made the Navy a career if home-front responsibilities did not call him back to the mainland.  His father, a career carpenter, had been injured on a job and would not be able to work for many months.  My dad, being the oldest son of working age, was required to return to civilian life and become the bread winner for his family until his father could resume work.  That’s the way things worked in those days – the family cared for the family.  There were no government offices to appeal to for daily bread.  He had served his country, now he must fulfill his duty to serving his family in time of need.  It must have been very difficult for Dad to leave the life at sea that he loved.  A personal sacrifice indeed.  Yet, he did so – to serve.

To serve.

Had he not taken up civilian life again, he wouldn’t have met my mom.  Now, a young man of thirty, he wed my mother and took on the duty of serving as husband and leader in his own home.  He was a self-taught  musician and loved big band/swing music – playing all the hits of the time by ear without any lessons.
Subsequently, three daughters (I, the oldest) added to his charge.  He was always meet for the task.  Daddy was a diligent provider who was known and well respected in our home town.   
Yes, that’s me in the little sled box Daddy  made for me – way back when – in the Mayberry Days.  Our home was very much like what I saw in those early T.V. sitcoms:  Dad was the strong, silent type.  He went to work each week-day morning after mom had fixed us all a sit-down breakfast.  He arrived home each evening at the stroke of 6:00pm – my sister and I gleefully met him at the door when he did.  Dinner was ready to be served within minutes of his entrance, after which the newspaper and evening news were forthcoming.  
He never worked weekends.  Saturday was yard work day – or perhaps a family ride to an undisclosed destination.  What excitement to find that we’d end up at the home of friends where the kids played all manner of make-believe while our parents played cards.  And, in the summer, perhaps a trip to the beach!  Sunday morning was church – faithfully each week – where he ushered and served the greater community of believers.  
He built our home and was wise with his modest earnings.  His first priority was to be sure my sisters and I had a private school, Christian education.  I know he made many sacrifices to be able to afford such a thing for us.
Each summer he would plan our family vacation with mom – a road trip and motels would be on the menu.  He loved to travel.  We saw a good bit of our mid-Atlantic states and took in the glories of natural wonders and historic locales.  
Then – the boat!  Dad had saved for some time, you see.  What joy when he bought his boat – returning him to the adventures of the sea!  Of a sort.  Actually, we enjoyed many restful weekends cruising the marsh and river inlets for crabbing and fishing.  Sometimes we’d dare the choppy waters of the Delaware Bay.  Not always fair sailing days – but Dad knew how to steer the boat.  And, even though the sky and sea were gray and swirling about, I just knew Dad would safely deliver us back to the dock and dry land. 
Though my deeply analytical mind and over active imagination might stir me to the place of worry, I never really feared as a child.  I was always and ever so very confident in my father’s wisdom and ability to protect me and navigate the requirements of daily living.  He always seemed to know what to do, and no matter what the moment might call for, Dad always stepped up to the plate, making whatever sacrifices were necessary – to serve.  
To serve.

Oh!  The wonder of a child to live their youth in such security – no cares – no worries – because Daddy was enough for all.  Isn’t that why our Heavenly Father asks us to come to Him as little children?  Confident in His Wisdom and ability to protect and navigate the requirement of our daily living – we who belong to him – because there are always fair winds and following seas when Daddy is at the helm.
Dad will celebrate his eighty-fourth birthday in July.  He is not much changed from the young man who loved the sea in his youth.  He served and sacrificed through my mother’s final battle with cancer.  His constant devotion was a strong arm to her and a blessing to me.  
He never made the Navy a career, but in his later years he served our nation as an officer in the Coast Guard Auxiliary.  Once again in his middle and later years, he was going to sea in big ships, sailing on patrol and filling his spirit with the glory of God’s wonders in open waters.  
He still bowls in a league.  He still does his own yard work.  He works out in the gym four times a week.  He still can boogie-woogie with the best of them on the piano.  He enjoys his friends and remains active in reunions and internet communication with his old ship-mates from his Navy days.  He even has a Facebook account!  He remains true to his thrifty and diligent ways and his responsible sense of duty – a man of honor and a good name in his community. 

I love you . . . be blessed, Dad!
You’ve been such a blessing . . .
I’m introducing my father, Michael Peter Jordan, to Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays.

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About Miss Kathy

"I teach families how to restore their God-given authority as the primary educator in their child’s life through the experience of reading together as a family. Learn how to use literature to create teachable moments, build strong minds, and bind loving hearts."

Kathryn Ross, writer, speaker, and dramatist, ignites a love of literature and learning to equip young and old towards developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle—reading together, learning together, loving together. Her works challenge families to deepen their literacy skills and grow into the greater things God has purposed for them. She’s taught in Christian and homeschool circles, trained in the Principle Approach® through the Foundation for American Christian Education. Miss Kathy owns Pageant Wagon Publishing, producing homeschool enrichment materials, devotional works, study guides, and theatrical dramas for church, school, and community production. She podcasts at and blogs at


  1. What a great testimony! The pictures are fabulous, and the Navy is great(my dad was in the Navy, too!). 🙂

  2. Hello Miss Kathy!
    Thank you for visiting me today!!!
    Your little touch of nostalgia, and tribute to your father is wonderful!! He sounds like a great man! Happy Fathers day to him!!
    I am also following you now! I love seeing new blogs!

  3. What a terrific tribute to a wonderful father. You are blessed to still have him with you. Great pictures and beautifully written. Thank you for sharing with us. Happy Father’s Day to your dad.

  4. Hi Kathy, I came back because of your comment and was so blessed to read this. My dad served in the Navy, probably right before your dad as he was in during the World War 2. What sweet family memories for both of us – and I bet they’d have gotten along great – my parents were both big band fans as well.

    Thanks for your sweet comments. Your VBS sounds WONDERFUL. My senior mom is a major gardening lover, while I enjoy various simple flowers.

    Have you thought of adding some Sunflower Houses to the plans. They are quite delightful, very easy, and if the kids will get a kick out of getting to actually go inside, even if they’re not that big (watch out for buggies, though 🙂 ). And I loved sharing with my grandkids that the sunflowers follow the sun, just as we are to follow the sun. 🙂

    Well, my granddog just popped in with a “take me for a walk” look on his face, so have to run. Looking forward to following your VBS gardening project! 🙂

  5. Such a lovely post….
    My father too inlisted into the Navy at a very early age. After the war he came home and went into photography. Both my parents held the same moral values as yours….all the way down to the family meals. Both my parents have passed on and not a day goes by that I don’t miss them.

  6. What a beautiful blog you have! So happy you stopped by mine (and left a sweet comment!) so I could have a link to yours! New follower here!

  7. what a wonderful tribute to your father. I’m sure you attribute who you are today to your parents. Thank you for sharing these wonderful memories with us. ~ Abby

  8. Loved the story of your father. The pictures are wonderful!

  9. Hi Kathryn, It is so nice to meet you. What a wonderful tribute to your amazing father.
    A beautiful post. I’m sure you’ll enjoy blogging and meet many other wonderful bloggers.
    Your blog and pics are lovely.
    Thanks so much for posting my giveaway on your side bar.
    Keep in touch.
    Have a great weekend!
    ~ Julie

  10. Brings joy to me to read of your precious father. Such a beautiful tribute.


  11. Wonderful tribute to your father – my dad joined the Navy when he was 17 and did make a career of it – made me pretty proud – love the Military and our Country – my dad instilled many good things in me!
    Have a great weekend,

  12. Kathryn, this is the most wonderful tribute to your father. Your photos are a treasure and your story of your dad just made me tear up. My parents are gone but there were so many similarities in the way I grew up, you just hit my heartstrings. My dad was the strength my mother needed when she passed way with cancer as well. Thank you for sharing your dad with us in such a sweet way.
    Hugs, Jeanne

  13. Hi Kathy,
    In case nobody answered your question yet, ATC stands for Artist Trading Card. Basically, you create art on something the size of a baseball card. Could be wood, paper, metal, etc. Then, you’re supposed to swap with another artist.
    If you’d really like more info., go to It not only explains it all, but there’s a forum, and a gallery with all kinds of ATCs created.


  14. Hi Kathy,
    An ATC stands for artist trading card. ATC’s are little works of art that measure 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 or the size of a baseball card. You then trade you cards with other artists.
    We are hosting an ATC blog hop July 1st. If you want to, you could create a patriotic themed card and share it on your blog that day, then come over to our blog and link it to our post.

    They are a fun and easy size to create and very quick little project.

    Have a good day, Lindsey

  15. WOW~~What a wonderful man and father. You were very blessed.Thank-you for sharing this wonderful tribute on your father. I hope is has a beautiful birthday in July.
    God Bless,

  16. You are a great testament to your parents and your Father’s love and guidance. How wonderful that he is still such a vibrant man.

    Thanks so much for your sweet comments yesterday.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  17. Hi Kathy,

    I didn’t realize you were in South Jersey. I’m actually a “Jersey Girl” myself. I grew up in the Hamilton…well…lets be totally honest…in Trenton! After growing up in the city, being over here in “Pennsy” is really nice.

    Another person who has read, “The Creative Call”! It is one of my very favorite books. I’ve read it over and over.

    Looking forward to reading more of your blog.


  18. Thank you for sharing this, Kathy. So very sweet and lovely.

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