As a result of the angelic visitations to my father, the light of scrutiny was turned on our family. What kind of children did this man raise? The proof of his credibility in the eyes of many of his colleagues was how did those children turn out? Did he really practice what he preached?
I believe that all four of us are a testimony to our parents' ministry.
I was born dramatic. I walked and talked at seven months, much to my father's delight, and as described earlier, I started singing when I was very young. I was ill many times during my school years, even suffering a relapse of rheumatic fever every winter until I was fifteen years of age. At that time I outgrew this problem. Because of daddy's interest in me and his help with my school work, I was never held back, but was able to graduate with my class. I wanted to be just like my dad, and the highest compliment I could receive especially when I got particularly feisty, was when my mother would sigh, and say with a laugh, "Oh, Sharon, you're just like your father." I loved it, although I wasn't really. I was totally uncoordinated, dreamy, flirty, scatterbrained, but musically inclined. I did share, however, my father's deep love for people.
I loved to read, and although my pictures in those years deny it, daddy thought I was beautiful and that I could do anything I wanted to do. When I was younger and during times of better health, I would produce plays for the neighborhood for a penny ticket. When I was ill, I would get all the neighborhood children to come in and keep me company telling them fantastic stories. When I got older I was always bringing home stray, hurting people I would find, saying, "You come home and meet my daddy. He'll help you!"
When I got a little older, I would overhear my dad saying half proudly and half despairingly to his friends, "I have to beat off the boys with a baseball bat!" Of course, I just ate that up. I loved my father so much, I would rather have died than do anything to hurt him. And because of his guidance and low pressure on his high strung and dreamy daughter, he helped me develop a glowing trust in the God he served.
Charm was fun. She was a born tomboy, and an athlete with a mathematical mind like her father. I liked to dress nicely and keep my hair just so even as a very little girl and used to despair of my little sister, who up through age nine, loved to put her hair up on those little pink rubber curlers first thing in the morning, and leave them in. As the day passed, more and more hair would come out of those curlers, but Charm was too busy to care. She would button her own dress in the back, missing one of the buttons and be ready for the day. She didn't want to take time to wash her face, and would do so only with the greatest urging. Her favorite spot to meditate was the very top of the street sign on the corner by the parsonage. She would shinny up the sign and perch there like a vulture, watching the cars go by. It was funny to watch passersby do a double take, as they saw a little girl with pink rubber curlers, from which the hair was sticking out like a fan around her head, sitting very calmly on top of the street sign, watching them drive by. This delightful little character, so opposite from her older sister, was a tremendous balance for me. She grew up to be a lovely, sparkly woman and totally feminine. Charm and I enjoy a very special, fun relationship as sisters today.
Ted came into the world hungry and big. One of the family's fondest memories of Ted was seeing him spread thick peanut butter on half a dozen pieces of bread, and with them carefully lined up both long arms, he would gingerly balance his "bedtime snack" as he went downstairs to his bedroom, calling good night to everybody.
He grew tall and skinny, and the fact that his ears stuck out was accentuated by the crew cut he always wore, because it would last, and haircuts were expensive. Unfortunately he had a terrible temper when he was younger, but again, because of the love and guidance of our father, he learned to control it. He was a loving, sensitive little boy, and had an unusual relationship with the Lord from a very early age. He was a natural scholar, and loved to read almost to the exclusion of other activities. Daddy's loving guidance got him out of his books and into sports. He eventually was honored after an exciting high-school and college career in football, to try out for the Dallas Cowboys, a top-rated professional football team. He was cut during training, but it was very special to all of us in the family that he had the opportunity to try out. We knew that his athletic ability had developed through the influence of a father who chose to spend time with his son.
Marilyn, or Mimi as we called her, was a delight to her father as well as to us older sisters, and she really kept Ted's life from being boring. She was two years younger than he, and a real go-getter. Daddy's nickname for her was "Gravel Gertie", because she had such a hoarse, gravelly little voice. She had beautiful thick blonde hair, the envy of both of her sisters, who loved to comb and fix it. She had the most unusual light blue eyes, fringed by black eyelashes. She was stubborn, and when she was spanked by mother, she would only laugh. Her sense of humor was outstanding, and she could make daddy laugh more than any of the rest of us. She had a terrible time sleeping, and many times in the middle of the night Charm and I would wake up to find Mimi standing in the doorway of our bedroom, just staring, willing us to wake up so she could ask to crawl in bed with one of us. We finally took pity on our little sister, who being the youngest, didn't enjoy fellowship we had, and bought three trundle beds, and asked Mimi to move into our bedroom. She was delighted. We would try to wait until she was asleep before exchanging secrets, finding out later that she heard every word we said.
It is a real lesson in psychology to read from each Buck offspring how we felt about our father, and his handling of each of us as we grew up.
Since I am the oldest, I get to start!
SHARON: "One of the first things I remember about my father was his generosity. He was the kind of man who gave everything he had to the Lord, to his family, and to people in need. I remember when a tramp knocked on our door when I was about four years old. It was during the time that I had rheumatic fever. I remember my dad going to the door, and there was a grizzled, shabby, little old man. Dad let him in and fixed him a bowl of soup. Then he had him chop some wood for him, in order to earn some money. I was so impressed with how he treated this old man, even leaving him his dignity, that I asked my daddy to bring in my piggy bank, which had about one hundred pennies in it. I remember wanting to be just like my dad, and I asked him to give the old man my pennies. He gave me a big smile, and asked, "Are you sure you want to do this, honey?' I assured him that I did.
"He used to include the whole family in his ministry. I remember the fun days when we first moved to Boise, and our church was small. Our whole family would get together and help fold, address, and put out the weekly newsletter after daddy typed it up. He had taught himself to type, and he typed as fast with two or three fingers as a lot of people could using five fingers on each hand. We would laugh and talk and just have a great time.
"Daddy always got a big kick out of the fact that I was so dramatic, but this trait could have tried a lesser man's patience. Charm always thought, until she was older, that I got spanked much harder than she did, because from the first moment I found I was going to be spanked, until long afterwards, I would howl at the top of my voice and really put on a show. I can remember sitting on my bed across from Charm, with my legs straight out in front of me, my back against the wall, my head thrown back, really carrying on. I remember Charm, after her spanking, (we usually got one together), crying a few tears, and then with her eyes as big as saucers. Watching her poor big sister.
"Whenever daddy punished us, it was never in anger. After the spanking was over, or in later life whatever punishment had been meted out, he would come to us and say, 'Honey, I just hate punishing, you, but I'm responsible to God for you life. You still love your old dad though, don't you?' What do you do with a dad like that? I would always have to say, 'Sure I do, daddy!' Later on, when he would have to deny us something, or an activity, for our own good, and I would be pouting, he just couldn't stand it! I always knew it wouldn't be long before I would hear his footsteps outside my door, and then he would come in. He never would change his mind, but he'd say, 'You forgive your old dad for being such an old meanie, don't you?' I would always have to say yes, and most of the time I would have to tell him he was right about whatever it was he wouldn't let do. A lot of times I would go to him even before he would come to me and tell him, 'You were right, daddy' because I never could stand to think that he felt badly. What a dad! It really makes me lonesome thinking about what a lucky girl I was to have a dad like that. With my inborn nature, I could have been so different.
"His patience with all of us was also a beautiful trait. Now that I have children, I try to be very careful not to laugh at some of the things that matter to them. His patience and care were very vividly illustrated when I was about eleven. I came home in heart-rending tears. A little boy in the sixth grade I really liked was moving away. I would never see him again! I cried and cried. My daddy comforted me the best way he could. Then I got an idea. 'Daddy, would you take me in the car, by his house, for just one last look at him?' Daddy didn't laugh, he just said, 'Sure, honey.' So off we went for one last glimpse of that boy and his house. Daddy did get in one of his famous stories, however! He told me that he had a friend who had fallen in love, and the girl decided to marry someone else. He told me very dramatically how that friend just sat by the window and pined away, getting skinnier and skinnier, and weaker and weaker, because he couldn't get over his lost love! The story was so dramatic he finally made me giggle, and I told him, 'Oh, daddy, I would never do that!'
"A beautiful memory of my daddy's care and generosity occurred when I was fourteen. I was going to have my very first date to a special banquet. We didn't have any money, and although I really would have liked a new dress, I realized it was impossible. My best dress was a hand-me-down from a wealthy friend. I had worn it many times, but it was still nice. I felt badly about not having a new dress for such a special occasion but tried very hard to hide my feelings because I knew there was no money for any extras at that time. I told my daddy that it was all right for me to wear the dress I already had, and gave him a big hug.
"The big day finally came. I came home from school all excited about my first date. When I walked in the door, my mother gave me a cute little smile and said, 'Run upstairs, honey. There's something on your bed!' I tore up to my bedroom, and there lying on my bed was the most beautiful dress I had ever seen. It was navy blue with white stripes and very full and swirly. It had a navy blue cummerbund to emphasize my waist. It was the latest style. It was gorgeous!
Mother told me later that Daddy somehow got the extra money, probably by going without something himself, and had gone downtown, to pick out that beautiful dress. He had gone out of his way to make my first date very special.
"My dad always went with me to youth camp, because he was in great demand as a teacher for young people. I didn't really mind, although he did keep an eye on me as far as the fellows were concerned. I was proud of him, because he was always the pitcher for the softball team when the kids played against the preachers, and I felt that because of his pitching, the preachers always won!
"I remember one year my dad called me aside the last night of camp. He was very excited. The kids had voted on camp king and queen and I had been voted the youth camp queen! It was supposed to be a surprise, and the winners were to be announced at the banquet that night, but dad just couldn't wait to see my face as he told me himself. He was tickled, just as much as I was.
"On the last night, after the banquet, everyone wanted to do something memorable, and my friends and I were no exception. We had been gathering clothes from the counselor's wash all week, with plans to build a funny dummy counselor the last night, and put it in the main recreation area. I shared this with my dad, because he always got such a big kick out of the harmless pranks we did. This night, however, he told me that he had heard some of the kids, were planning to get in real trouble by sneaking out of camp and going to town for the whole night. He asked me if I would give up my plans and stay in my tent that night after curfew, so nobody could point any fingers at me. I reluctantly promised him I would, and he said, 'Okay, honey, I know you've promised me, so I can count on you!' I couldn't break a promise to my dad, so after the exciting banquet, and having a wonderful time as queen, I went to my cabin with my friends and my counselor and went to sleep.
"The next morning, everybody was buzzing about the kids who had stayed out all night, and for some reason, the counselors thought I was one of them. My counselor told them that I had stayed in all night, and they told her she was lying for me! They went to my dad, and told him he would have to talk to his daughter for going out all night, 'and her, queen of camp, just the night before!'
"My dad just looked them right in the eye, and said, 'I don't have to talk to her. She promised me she wouldn't leave her cabin, and I believe she kept her promise! If she said she stayed in, she did!'
"When I heard my dad say that, my heart stirred with a strong determination to always be worthy of the trust that he placed in me. He never did even ask me privately, 'Did you, or did you not stay in? As far as he was concerned, the issue was closed. I didn't really care then what the other people thought, because my dad believed me!
"Daddy really used his diplomatic ability in one incident when I was in high school. He had an ironclad rule that I could not go steady. During the late fifties and early sixties it was popular to wear a big glass ring from your boyfriend, wrapped up in string covered with fingernail polish. My friends were all going steady, and I wanted to also.
"One night, I accepted a class ring from one of my boyfriends. I had it all figured out how I was going to change my dad's mind about going steady. I would go to all the work of wrapping yards of string around this ring, polish it with nail polish, then tell my dad that I didn't care about going steady, but that I had gone to all that work, and what I really wanted was a big ring like all my friends. He didn't need to worry about me liking the boy too much.
Daddy listened with great interest as I showed him my handiwork, and told him how very long it had taken me to get the ring fixed up. He smiled when I continued my little spiel about how I actually didn't care at all about going steady, but that all I wanted was a big ring like all my friends. He gave me a bear hug and said, 'Why, honey, is that all you wanted?" I nodded, crossing my fingers. Maybe he was going to let me keep my ring! He continued, 'If I had known that's all you wanted, we could have taken care of it a long time ago. Tell you what, you give that ring back, and I'll buy you the biggest ring you have ever seen, bigger than that one, and you can wrap it to your heart's content!'
"I know a lot of preachers' kids who hated it because the fathers were always telling them they had to be an example for the people in their church. As a result, they didn't feel like they could ever be themselves. I always felt my dad was special because he encouraged us to be ourselves, and develop in our own way. He didn't even punish us all the same way or have all our rules alike. He treated each one of us individually, and made decisions about our actions based on the merit of each case that came up. Because of this, each of us felt that we held our own very special place in his attention. He felt that each one of his children could do anything they tried, and was a great encourager, never once tearing us down but always building up our self-esteem. He asked us to share with him in his ministry, saying that we could help him by developing the trust of his congregation in his ministry by the way we responded. We all took this very seriously, feeling as if we were working arm-in-arm with him on almost the same level of responsibility.
"When I met my husband-to-be under very unusual circumstances, my dad was very concerned because he didn't know anything about Alan or his background. He called Alan's pastor and also his parents to find out what kind of person he was. I remember sitting in the front yard with dad, feeling a little resentful. I was twenty years old and I felt I knew what I was doing. Instead of responding to my resentment with anger, he said, 'Honey, when God gave you to me, it was as if He entrusted me with a precious treasure. To me you are like a beautiful, priceless pearl necklace. I just can't leave my beautiful treasure lying around carelessly for anyone to pick up!' His voice broke and as I looked at him, I saw tears running down his cheeks.
All I could do was put my arms around his neck and cry with him. I thanked him, and later I thanked God for giving me a daddy who cared so very much about me.
Later on I had to chuckle over another little episode with dad about Alan. Alan had to be away in the service for about six months. He considered us unofficially engaged, but I didn't, so I continued happily dating a lot of different young men. Finally one day, my dad said in a very official voice, 'Sharon, would you please come to my office!' I racked my brain trying to remember whether I had done anything wrong lately. I couldn't think of anything. He sat me down and got right to the point. He asked me if Alan knew I was dating while he was away. Sheepishly I said No. Then my dear daddy told me I had three alternatives. I could keep on dating, but I was to let Alan know; or if I couldn't tell Alan, he would; or I could stop dating, and the case would be closed. I decided to quit dating.
Then daddy told me how he felt Alan had special qualities that would complement me, and that he would be happy if Alan should be his son-in-law someday.
One last thing that made me happy was that when dad experienced the visitations of angels, he was allowed to go with them on several occasions to visit heaven. He knew what a joyful person I was, and he told me that I would be very excited to know that the atmosphere of heaven was joy and happiness. He said that while he was allowed to be there, he could hear the angels laughing. The one thing that was obviously lacking was solemnity and piety. He knew I would be thrilled with this as would be a lot of other people. He encouraged people to laugh more and be happy here, because he would tease them, they would surely be out of place in heaven if they lived their Christianity with long faces and a lack of joy.
CHARM: "I remember, with great affection, dad's relationship with me as his tomboy. Until Ted was old enough to be in sports, and really get out and do things, I was my dad's little tomboy, and still have a streak that runs a mile wide. I remember dad always being on the sidelines of the track meets and softball games. I could always be assured that although he couldn't always be there for the whole thing, he would show up and was interested in what I was doing, and in the things that were going on in my life. I remember his pride when I would win in a track meet or when I got on the all-city softball team for the summer. As I got older and wasn't really involved in those things, When a boy would come over to the house for dinner, dad would always push back his chair at the end of the meal and while we were talking about different things, he would insist that I go get my ribbons! I had no real interest in showing a boy my ribbons and they probably didn't want to see them either. But to dad it was a real point of pride. As I see my kids growing up, I can understand why he felt the way he did, because any accomplishment of theirs is a big highlight in my life.
"I really appreciated him making a big thing out of the good little things. Never making a big thing out of the bad, and giving us real self-esteem. We never had any questions to how big we were in the eyes of our mom and dad. They always went as far as they could in trusting us and lifting and building us up.
"I remember dad taking all of us out on the back roads of Boise and teaching us how to drive long before we were old enough, and his tremendous patience. He used to take Sharon out. And I would always tag along. I would listen very carefully, then when we would get back and Sharon and dad would go in the house, I would stay in the car and practice shifting. When it was my turn to learn, dad was surprised at how much I already knew. Because I had been practicing on the side.
"I remember so well when I was fourteen. I had just received my license and dad had bought one of the first new cars we had ever had. It was a 1960 Ford, considered a real dog today, but it was exciting then because it was brand new off the lot.
"On a Sunday afternoon, I asked dad if I could take a bunch of girls and go out to dinner. His response, was, 'Sure, honey, no problem.' So I took our brand new car and away we went with a carload of fourteen-year-old girls, none of whom had their licenses. Naturally. I was a big celebrity.
"I turned a corner too sharply where there was a curb that stuck up about two feet. As we drove over it, there was a crunching sound. It sounded horrible. I thought for sure we had ruined the whole car. I pulled over, and the car door wouldn't open. I was absolutely shattered. Going home, of course I was worried about what dad's response would be. I went in and told him what had happened. He got up very calmly and said, 'Let's go take a look at it!' He looked and felt underneath the car. The door was jammed and wouldn't open. Then he said, 'Well, I guess we're going to have to get it fixed!' I was ready to lay my life on the line, and to have him attach my salary from the drive-in where I worked to pay for it. His response has been a help to me through the early years of my children's lives, because when I overreact to a situation, I think of dad and his response to something that many fathers would have reacted so differently. Dad knew that I had already punished myself so completely that he wasn't going to add to it.
"One thing he's told us as parents, and I think of it so often, is to never make the punishment greater than the crime. He had a basic, solid, consistent approach to us as children, we always knew where he stood.
"I remember him as being a very strong disciplinarian. In early years, dad's word was final. When his voice got a certain tone in it, then we didn't ask any more questions. We were all familiar with the trips to the basement and dad's big belt. But spankings were always given with kindness and love, and we never questioned how he felt about us.
"When we got older, the discipline changed to giving us as much rope as we could handle. With each individual it was different, because we were all put together differently. If he saw, however, that we were making a wrong decision, he always kept the last word in his hip pocket. He loved us enough. When this happened, to put his reputation and his relationship with us on the line, and take a stand that many times was hard, but with his guidance turn us back in the right direction. I feel this is the reason why we are all serving the Lord today; because he had the strength of character to risk being unpopular with his children, and take a stand that would assure us our future happiness. He did this with all of us, giving us leeway, and teaching us how to make our own decisions, but keeping us pointed in the right direction.
"Speaking of this, I was twenty years old and had been a bridesmaid for a friend. I had entertained one of her grooms-men, who had come from out of town and wasn't a Christian. Dad had not felt good about him at the time, and then I had stayed out later than I should have. Dad was rather disappointed in me. The next time the young man came to town, he called and wanted to go out with me. Being a tenderhearted person and not wanting to hurt his feelings, even though I wasn't particularly interested, I left him on the phone and asked dad what he thought, 'No! I don't want you to go out with him. I didn't get good vibrations from him!' I said, 'But dad, he's on the telephone, and I don't know what to tell him.' Dad said, 'If you can't tell him not, then I will.' So dad picked up the phone and said, 'I'm sorry, but my daughter can't go out with you!'
'I could have felt a little rebellious thinking that dad had overstepped his bounds. But looking back I realize he loved me enough to jeopardize his popularity in a sense, and make a decision that he knew was for my good. I hope that as my kids grow older, I'll have the strength to do that with them.
'Dad had a pet name for me. He called me 'Chump' or affectionately, 'Charmi'. Being dad's boy, he used to take his Chump with him to minor league baseball games. I would hang on every word as he told me about the different players on the Boise Braces club. I wanted to make dad feel good about being there with me. I was interested, but probably not as interested as I acted. I loved the privilege of going some place with dad by myself. Ted and Marilyn were too young, Sharon was probably on a date, and mom thought it was nice that we could go together. So we would go and have a hot dog, and watch the game. S
omething else I really enjoyed as dad's 'boy' was going fishing with him. Neither one of us was much of a fisherman and we would usually end up where all the flies were. Some of the times I have mentioned did not happen too often but they were very special times and quality times that make for good memories.
"Something else that dad used to do for me was make up all kinds of mathematical story problems for me to figure out. That's how we made the time pass when we were on vacations and had to spend a lot of time driving.
"Spiritually, dad gave us a legacy for which there is no substitute. It has made our lives richer than any kind of inheritance. We saw in his life a stability, a steadfastness, a solid interpretation of the Scripture, and a real understanding of the nature of God.
"Dad talked a lot about what God was like. If someone would ask specific questions, dad could answer it, not only on the basis of the Scripture, but on the basis of actually knowing what God was like. I feel like everyone associated with dad got a glimpse into the personality of God, because dad knew His personality so well that he even radiated it.
"I don't think that there was any one of us who ever wanted to do anything but live for God. There may have been times of rebellion to parental control. But none of us went through a period where we didn't want to serve God. I don't think there was any question in our minds or in mom's and dad's minds as to whether we would serve God, because He was such a part of our lives.
"I always appreciated dad's approach to the ministry, and to our family. He never used the old adage that we had to do such and such because he was a preacher. He would say, "You're my child and this is how I feel. You do this because it's what I want you to do." If the decision was unpopular with the congregation, that's wasn't an issue. He made his decisions based on his own personal feelings of how he wanted us to grow up, not how the congregation wanted us to grow up.
"I can never forget the first time Bryan, my husband came into the life of our family. I had come home from Northwest College at Christmas time, knowing that I was going to have to break up with a young man who had been important to me for a long time. My first night home, I told the young man that I had met someone who was going to become part of my life. I went home and proceeded to cry all night.
"The next morning I looked like a real hag. I finally got enough composure to put on some makeup and go to breakfast. No sooner had I sat down when dad came in and said, "Well, so and so has sure grown up to be a fine young man, Charmi!" I ran from the table in tears. Leaving poor dad standing there with a "what did I do?' look on his face! Bryan arrived a few days late and proposed to me on the way back to college. Dad had had very little time with him, because we were so busy with all the Christmas activities and parties while we were home. So we decided that we would wait several weeks before calling him. Bryan finally called dad and asked for my hand in marriage. Dad's teasing response was, 'You don't want her, she'll just be a chain around your neck!' This really took Bryan by surprise. I asked dad in later years how he had felt about saying yes to a young man he had barely met. He told me, "Charmi, I had enough faith and confidence in you to know that if you loved him, it was right!" It really gave me a warm feeling to know that he trusted me to that point.
"Another quality that was outstanding in dad was his generosity. If he had one dollar in his pocket or in the bank and we needed a dollar, he would clean out his wallet for us. Which was sometimes disturbing to mother. On special days for mom, he always wanted to give her a big surprise. I'll never forget when he had the living room and dining room re-carpeted as a surprise for her. I don't think she was ever really crazy about the carpet, but dad never knew it. He was so proud and happy to have done something special.
"A special memory to me, especially now that dad is gone, is something that dad gave me. Mom and I went shopping in early fall for a new winter coat which I needed very badly. I had been married for several years, and my husband was also in the ministry. I picked one out and put it on layaway, thinking that it would probably take me to the end of the next year to pay for it. Just a few days before Christmas, mom and dad came knocking at my door. Dad was hiding something behind his back. With a "Merry Christmas" and a big hug, they presented me with my coat. I don't think I'll ever let that coat wear out!
"When dad laughed, he would throw his head back and his whole body would laugh. One such time was when a lady had come up to the front of the church to give her testimony. She began to get really inspired and her throat got a little dry. There was a little cup there that looked like it was filled with water. But it was anointing oil. This lady took a big swallow of that oil. And dad literally exploded on the platform. He could hardly sit on his chair. Of course the whole congregation joined in, because when dad laughed, everyone around him laughed too. It was great to make dad happy; his big smile would light up his whole face.
"Dad always concealed his hurts. I know there were a lot of time through the years when he was hurting for one reason or another, but he never let this affect the temperament of our home. As a result, our home was very stable and peaceful.
"In later years when he received criticism in relationship to his experiences with the angels, he was hurt more than he would let anybody know. He didn't like being on the firing line, but because of his strong character, he would prefer to turn the other cheek and express only love and concern for those who maligned him. He always maintained his positive ministry of how God loved us and how many miles God was willing to go with us. And how very much God was willing to forgive people."
TED: "Dad was always my very best friend. At the age of two, he was my best friend, at the age of ten, twelve, and all through the adolescent years, which would normally be a time of rebellion, dad was my best friend. I could bring anything to him. He would never put me down, and always made me feel special. Had it not been for the fact that he performed many marriage ceremony, he would have been the best man at my wedding.
"Dad showed all of us what God is like, not only by what he said, but how he lived. He was closer to God than any man I have ever known. I never received punishment from him in anger. I never heard him yell at any of us kids or at mom, and I never heard him and mom argue in front of us. I'm sure they must have had disagreements, but he showed us the nature of Christ. He was also the most generous and giving person I've met.
"One of the things that really stands out in my mind about my dad was his interest in the sports in which I was involved. Even as a youngster I was too tall for my coordination. I had just as much as everybody else, but it was spread out a lot thinner. When I started playing football in the fourth grade, dad was always there. He would come to as many practices as he could, even though he was very busy. He was always at the game unless he was sick. I could count on it. He would come and stand through an entire game, just so he could watch me get in for the last thirty seconds or one minute.
"One year we got back late from our vacation and football had already started. I was so tall and skinny I had to play with kids a year older because of my size. When I went out to practice, they had already been practicing for one or two weeks. It was rough on me that day, because they were in shape and I wasn't. At the end of that practice I told dad, 'I think I'm going to have to quit, I just can't do this!' Dad didn't push me but he told me something I'll never forget. 'You're tired right now. Don't make a decision when you're down! Let's go home, get some supper, and get you cleaned up, then you can make up your mind.'
"Of course, after supper and getting cleaned up, I felt better. This was when I was in the sixth grade. I went on to finish that year, and as a result I played all through junior high and high school. I was able to earn a scholarship. And had four years of college paid for because of playing football. This happened because dad gave me the wisdom, and the guidance not to make a decision when I was down.
"Another thing that helped shape my life were two words that my father told me he wanted me to totally eliminate from my vocabulary. The two words, "if only." Those two words are so destructive and harmful to people. He told me to replace those words with "next time".
"Dad taught me from the time I was very young how to treat girls and women, partly from his own example of how he treated my mom and my sisters, with love and consideration. There's a strong bond between me and my sisters. One time, however, all dad's girls really got to him, and to me. I was eight or nine years old and haircuts were expensive, so dad decided to become my barber. He came home one night with a hair-cutting kit, and begun to cut my hair. Dad was always so good at doing anything, that he had perfect confidence in his ability to cut my hair. But as he worked, he began to realize that it was going to take some practice in being able to get both sides the same, even on a crew cut. In getting the hair even, he kept cutting it shorter, and shorter. He was about half-way done when mom called everybody to supper.
When I sat down on my chair, my sisters and my mom just dissolved into laughter. They also were having fun, at dad's expense, teasing about his barbering. I felt so bad that I left the table, got a towel and wrapped it around my head like a turban, thinking that would cause the girls to quit teasing. But when I came back to the table with my towel around my head, they exploded again. Finally, dad said in a very stern voice, 'The next one who laughs has to leave the table!' That was too much for my mother. She tried to stop herself, but burst into giggles. Dad was really nonplussed, and he looked at her and said, 'that means you too, Charm!' That did it. Mom ran from the table consumed with laughter. Giggles continued to break out throughout the entire meal, but afterwards dad finished my haircut. It was short all right, but with practice, he really did get pretty good at crew cuts.
"I remember a time when I was about eleven or twelve. I was worried because I didn't feel that I could totally surrender my life to God. I remember in our house on Federal Way, sitting at the bottom of the stairs looking up to the top of the stairs at my dad, and telling him, 'Dad, you know I want to serve God. I want to be used of Him, and I want Him to be able to do with me what He wants. I think I could be a minister, but dad, if God wants me to be a missionary, I just don't think I can do it!"
"In my own mind I didn't want to go some place and live in a grass hut, eat fish heads, be with a bunch of people I didn't know, and away from the ones I loved. He told me something that gave me such a trust in God. I have been able to pass this on to others, and it is this 'God will never call you to something without giving you such a strong desire to do it, that it will be the only thing you'll be happy doing.' At that point, I said, 'I guess that's right. That's the kind of God we serve, isn't it?' From that point on, I totally surrendered, and I said, 'Okay, God, whatever you have, here I am.' All of us kids had one thing imparted to us, that fact that we could trust God, because He always had good things in store for us.
"When I was two years old, dad taught me to read by making some flash cards of the alphabet. He also taught me the name of every car and truck on the road, so that even at night, if we were out camping near a highway, I could tell the difference between the kinds of trucks just by listening to the motors, especially the diesels. I'm sure it was real wisdom on my dad's part, because he kept me so busy naming cars, I didn't have time to fuss when we were out on the road.
"Knowing how to read came in handy one time when I was about two years old. We had a dog, actually it was the neighbor's dog, but it adopted us, so the neighbors gave her to us because she was at our house all the time anyway. She was a big beautiful Chesapeake Retriever named Skeeter. I had heard about a little car called the King Midget, which was smaller than most cars, because I was so fascinated by cars, Skeeter and I took off one day, without asking anybody, to find the King Midget. I got on my tricycle and we went all the way downtown. A policeman came along and saw I wasn't with an adult, so he brought me to the address on Skeeter's collar. When I got out of the car, everybody asked me if I was okay, and I said, 'Yup. Whenever I came to a sign that said, s-t-o-p, I stopped!'
"Dad also taught me how to memorize whole chapters in the Bible. He helped me with math. He had a way of always helping you solve your own problems. I would come to him with problems in second-level algebra or geometry or calculus, and I would say, 'I'm having a hard time with this problem, could you help me a little bit?' He'd say, 'Explain it to me,' and I would go through the problem and explain it all, and he would say, 'Where are your stumped?' I would explain that to him, and all of sudden I would say, 'Wait a second, I see!" I would go ahead and figure out the problem, and then say, 'Thanks, dad, for helping me!' He provided a sounding board for me and when I had problems, I could talk with him and rather than always just hastily moving in and solving them or saying, 'Hey, I can't help you,' he allowed me to be able to see things through.
I remember one time when I was about four years old. Dad and I were walking downtown to the Post Office, and he couldn't figure out why I kept dropping back behind him. Finally he said, "Ted, why don't you come up here with me?" I told him, 'Well, daddy, you look so nice with your suit on, and these are my play jeans that I have on and they've got some patches on the knees, and I'm not really cleaned up. I'll walk behind you, because I don't want people to think that you're with me, because you look so good, and I look so bad!' Of course my dad just scooped me up in his arms and said, 'Son, it doesn't matter how you look. I'm always proud to be seen with you.'
"He was proud of all of us. He and mom made our home a sanctuary. We could always feel comfortable at home, I had a shoe size that kept up with my age - from age ten until finally my feet stopped growing at age and size fifteen. I had large ears, and I looked something like an "L" with radar mounted on top, walking down the halls at school. I would receive criticism from my peers because my feet were bigger that theirs, or my ears were bigger, or my coordination hadn't come into full bloom. Yet when I went home, I always felt important. My opinion was important. I was special, because my folks made all of us feel that way. This has made me want to treat everybody the same way.
"Dad didn't just teach us rules, but principles and values to live by. We couldn't help but love God, because of the God we saw in our father's life. Church was a fun place to go because dad was there. We never had to be forced to go because he made church so exciting. Dad made all of life exciting and fun. He was always the best athlete on the team, and was just plain fun to be around.
"Dad would have been a fantastic athlete. He taught me how to swim, how to ride a full-size bike when I was five. He taught me how to drive, starting at age two. I used to sit on his lap and steer, then at ages six and seven, dad went to several conferences in Montana and I helped him drive. I had to sit on a pillow, but I was tall for my age. He would sit on the other side of the car, relaxing as I was driving, seemingly with total confidence in me.
"He expressed that beautiful confidence in me when I was still in high school. He had just bought a new Datsun 240Z that didn't even have a thousand miles on it. A friend and I were invited to speak at a retreat , and I was planning to drive my car, which was okay, but nothing flashy. It was snowing and we were going up to a ski retreat where there was a lot more snow. Dad tossed me the key to that neat little sports car and said, 'Here Ted, take this. I think you'll have a good time in it, and it'll run really good on the trip!"
"Something funny happened on one of our vacations. We went to Yellowstone Park in an old Nash whose seats folded down to make a bed. The four kids slept in that car, and mom and dad slept in sleeping bags by the fire near the car. The fire was kind of dim, and something woke dad up. He noticed that there was a bear coming over to where he and mom were. Then the bear began to rummage through some things, and dad tried very quietly to get mom's attention. He didn't want to scare her though, so he said very softly, 'Charm, there's a bear over there!' It took my mom about two seconds to get in the car, with dad close behind. He decided that the bear was going to take everything if he didn't do something, so he took a pair of old wingtip shoes and clapped the heels together. The noise scared the bear so much it ran and hid under an old-fashioned camp trailer. Where it started scratching itself. It was so funny to see that old trailer going up and down, up and down as the bear scratched. Needless to say, six people slept in that little Nash that night.
"When I was a senior in high school, I finally got a consistent starting position in football. I had to work very hard, and dad really helped me because he was willing to go down to the park with me and time me in my starts. As I would run, he was continually encouraging me.
"Our team that year was one of the top ranked in the nation. When it was time for the starting game of the new season, and I ran out on the filed to be introduced, I felt good, knowing that mom and dad were up there in the stands , and they were taking a little pride in me, especially after all dad's work with me. It was a greater feeling to know how they felt than even how I felt for myself. When I moved on to college football and ran out on the filed for the first game my sophomore year, my thrill was in knowing that my mom and dad were in the stands, and I had made them proud as they continually encouraged me through many years of hard work.
"The one individual person on earth who has had more impact on my life than anyone else ever will have was my father. He put his stamp on me so deeply that I couldn't see it even if I wanted to. I have met the man who most reminded me of God. And I'm sure I'll never meet anyone like him until the time when we go to be with the Lord.
"Dad had a trust in me, and as a result I did my best to live up to his expectations. One reason why I didn't smoke or take a drink of booze, or hot rod his cars or even my own car, was because I didn't want to disappoint him and mom. One of the worst things I could ever think about would be if I ever made my dad disappointed in me. I determined with God's help I was never going to bring dishonor to his ministry.
"Now that I am a pastor, people ask me what kind of a pastor I want to be. All they have to do is study Roland Buck as a pastor of a church, and they can see in him my model. He was not a perfect man, but he came as close as anybody I've ever known.
"Shortly before he died, I was with him and suddenly felt overcome with love for him, I told him how much I loved him and appreciated him. I told him how much he and mom had helped me when I needed it, and given to me, even financially. He said, "We never had that much money we could give you," and I informed him that he had given me a legacy worth more than any amount of money he could ever have given me."
MARILY - (MIM): "One of the first things I remember about my dad was his great big smile. He used to sing a song called 'You can Smile!' On the last chorus you were supposed to leave off the word 'smile' and instead show as big a grin as you could, and then hum. Whenever dad would lead that song, everyone would burst into laughter because his smile was ear-to-ear.
"He loved athletics and was so proud of mom as well as Ted, Charm and I because we all were very coordinated. I remember when I was little how he would talk about the home runs my mother could hit, he went to Charm and Ted's games, and finally it was my turn. He was so proud of my baseball prowess.
"I played on a softball team for several years. I loved to look over at the sidelines and see my father cheering me on. I would want to give more than 100 percent so he would be proud of me.
"He was a terrific baseball player himself. Our whole family used to go out into the back yard, and play baseball together. At church picnics, when the men played baseball, as dad got up to bat everyone in the outfield would back up. Boy, could he hit home runs.
"I remember one summer when I was about two we went swimming. Dad was teaching the other kids to swim, but since I was so young he didn't think I was listening. All of a sudden there was a splash as I jumped in to swim with the other kids. Dad told me later that as he looked around, all he could see floating on top of the water was long blonde hair. He quickly rescued me, expecting the worst, but as he pulled out of the water, I said, "I did what you told the other kids to do, daddy. I didn't breathe in the water!'
"Dad always showed he had confidence in his children. This confidence was keenly illustrated one time when we went on vacation to Washington. I had just gotten my driver's license before we were to take our vacation and I wanted the chance to do some driving. I asked my dad if I could drive and he told me that, if I really wanted to drive, I would have to drive the stretch of the Ellensburg Canyon. At that time, there was only a two-lane road with a steep drop-off to a river on one side and the mountain on the other, plus it was very curvy. The thought of driving that stretch of road scared me, but I knew if I wanted to drive, I would have to overcome my fear. I took over the wheel with a lump in my throat. I think my mother, who was riding in the back seat, had an even bigger lump in her throat. I started down the steep, curvy road and began to relax, dad would help me by telling me when I should brake for a corner and would encourage me and tell me I was doing fine, this is just one example of how my dad helped me build confidence in myself. He encouraged us in everything we did.
"When we were quite young, we didn't have much money, but we had a lot of love, if we really wanted something, but we knew we couldn't afford it, we didn't even ask. But if dad knew we wanted something special, he would love to surprise us by buying it for us. He would cut corners elsewhere just so he could see the look of delight on our faces.
"Dad could never bear to see someone in need and during the years when I was growing up, we almost always had someone staying with us to help them get back on their feet. Many times dad would call my mom and ask her if she would put another plate on the table asked if supper could be stretched, because someone who had stopped at the church or someone he had met somewhere, needed a good meal.
"Dad and mom never yelled at us and we kids never yelled in our home. We were all definitely disciplined, and I had my share of spankings but they were always in love. I was a stubborn little kid, and when mom used to spank me I would determine not to cry, and would laugh instead, but when my dad spanked me, it worked. I remember, though, that I would rather have a spanking and feel like I had paid for the wrongdoing, than to have my dad sit me down and talk about my actions. When we would talk, I would feel so bad for hurting my father. I would feel like I had really let him down, I always had a desire for my dad to be proud of me. I'm sure this feeling kept me, as well as my sisters and brother, from doing anything really wrong, because we so much wanted our mom and dad to be proud of us. Dad trusted and believed in all of us.
"One thing I loved while growing up was going on vacations as a family. A lot of friends thought it was old fashioned to do things or go places with your parents, but I loved it. As a family we just enjoyed being together. I remember one vacation in particular. We traveled down to California and stayed with my Uncle Al. He had a yacht and took us out on the ocean. It was a super neat time, just relaxing together as a family. On that same vacation, we went down to Tijuana, Mexico. I loved to watch my dad as he dickered with the shopkeepers trying to get better prices.
"Dad had a great senses of humor. When he heard something that struck him funny, he would close his eyes, lay his head back and roar with laughter. I loved to tell my dad jokes or do something funny so I could hear his infectious laugh.
"I remember one evening about a week before dad died, our family was all over at mom and dad's house relaxing in the family room. My dad really loved Ted's little girl, Cherry. She was such a happy baby. She was only about a year old and did not usually want to be held and loved by many people. For some reason, that night she climbed up into my dad's lap, gave him a love and sat there with him. She did this over and over, and I could see how happy he was to have her show him her love. After dad went to be with the Lord, that was one scene that kept coming back to me and touching my heartstrings.
"One thing that had a great impact on me was seeing the love displayed between my parents. They had tremendous respect and consideration for each other. I decided when I got married that I would not settle for anything less than that type of relationship.
"Throughout the years there were people who did not agree with my father, and some even tried to hurt his ministry. He did not react, instead he prayed for them, and tried to give them some extra love. He would not talk badly about anyone, although it must have hurt him to know some things which were said about him.
"Many people wondered why angels would visit my father, and he wondered this too. I feel the Lord had the angels visit dad because he had shown himself to be a humble, good and faithful servant for the Lord. He was willing to do whatever was necessary to help people find the way to true joy and happiness in the Lord.
"It seems like dad could not keep from helping people. If a need was there, my dad was available - spiritually, physically, or financially.
"Our spunky red-haired mother shared in having a strong influence on the four of us. She didn't seem to let anything shock her. She rolled with the teenage storms we all went through, and would never make a big thing out of the fads and fashions as they would come and go. She seemed to remember how it felt to be young. The truth is my mother is the kind of person who will never grow old, because she is blessed with a young and joyful spirit."
Mom wraps up this chapter of the four bucks:
"We were always in a building program trying to provide more room. Roland knocked on many doors and ministered to many people's needs so the churches grew.
"He was like a Rock of Gibraltar to me, especially when the children were sick. He often tried his hand at cooking. However, there was one concoction he made from leftovers that we named "Hash Malali," which the children ate only because they were hungry.
"I am so thankful for the solidarity and love that Roland gave to me and the family. There were some traumatic events in our lives - Sharon with rheumatic fever, the death of Terry, several heart attacks, and a heart arrest. Yet, through all of these times, he maintained a calmness that kept us from becoming distraught.
"Animals were an integral part of our lives. Roland loved them, and passed that love onto all our children. Charm especially seemed to always be bringing home some kind of animal life. One day near Easter time, I returned to find a big, fat, green rabbit in a cage in the living room! The kids named the rabbit Sebastian. Sebastian loved Roland and would thump along behind him when he would take an evening stroll around the neighborhood. What a sight! Charm also brought a baby duck home from the fair that followed her like a puppy. When she went upstairs, he would stand on the main floor and cry because he had been left behind.
"She also got a lizard at the fair. When it was time to go to school, she pinned him to her bedspread. While she was gone, our cat found the lizard, and when Charm came home from school, she was horrified to find the cat sitting on the bed purring and smiling, and only the tail left pinned to the spread. Charm carried the tail around in a box for a long time. She even tried to trade the tail to a friend for a live lizard!
"Sharon was a lover of dogs. I was always fearful that she might be bitten, for whenever she saw a dog, the scroungier the better, she had to love that dog. Amazingly she was never bitten.
"When we first moved to our present home, Ted and my husband brought home a Great Dane. I thought, "Oh, no! It's like having a pony in the house." She stayed, however and is a real comfort to me now, because she was so much a part of my husband's life. She would go with him to the office every day.
"Can you imagine, a dog in church? She has become so much a part of our church family that people ask for her if she isn't around. One time when I was out of town, someone forgot to take her home. In the prayer service when they asked for those with needs to come forward, one of the first ones down to the front was Queenie. She was taken out as quickly as she came in.
"Another time when my husband and I were gone on a trip, she went into the first-grade class. There she was, ears drooping, head hanging low, big brown, sad doggy eyes, with her tail between her legs. Nothing could have looked sadder. One of the first graders said, "Queenie looks depressed. Let's pray for her!"
"Roland was kind and loving, but firm in discipline. In our first home in Boise we had a space down by the furnace which was almost like the old cellars. When Roland started removing his belt because they had been disobedient, the children knew what was coming - down to the cellar. It didn't happen often, but enough for our children to learn respect for their parents. Because of this training, the children have grown into adults who love and respect their parents. The closeness of our family is a priceless treasure in my heart.
Next: Time to Build Again