| MY FOUR FATHERS
By Albert Don Henderson
Today, June 15, 2014, I am thinking of Father’s Day, not for me but for my four Fathers. I am
speaking of my four Earthly Fathers, for I know that the most important Father is the Father of all, my
God, the almighty and wise creator. This writing of my Fathers will be in the order that they occurred in
my life and what they taught me.
My 1st Father was Albert Henderson, my Dad. Albert was killed in a car accident in 1939, so I have
no real memory of him. The way I learned about him was mainly from my Grandmother (his Mother)
Grace Henderson. Because of the memories that she shared I was able to garner a picture of him and
knew that he had a talent for art. His carvings decorated my Grandmother’s wall and it was a constant
reminder to me that he had talent. This alone gave me a life-long love of art. Though I had nowhere
near the talent of my Dad, I did, on occasion, draw and paint and attempt to carve. Soon I learned that
this was not my best talent. Later, when my youngest son started drawing at an early age I realized the
talent from my Dad may have been handed down to my Son. Blake later earned a degree in Art and
so, today I salute my Dad Albert. Happy Father’s Day, Dad and thanks for sharing your art talent and
giving me an appreciation for art.
My 2nd Father was my Grandfather Oscar, who raised me after my Dad’s death. Oscar and Grace
became my parents shortly after the death of my 1st Father. My Mother decided that I would be better
off with my Grandparents. My 2nd Father, my Granddad, taught me many things; including an
appreciation for books, writing, and God. Since my Grandfather was a minister, I quickly learned bible
passages and an understanding of being a Christian. He baptized me when I was 12 years old and it
was very special for me. Granddad was an expert at telling a story and he often told me stories relating
to his preaching life or something that happened when he was a boy in Mississippi. I soon learned to
emulate him (or attempt to) Since he was always writing or reading, I too wanted to do this. Perhaps
this is why I became a teacher. So on this day, Happy Father’s to my Grandfather, my 2nd Father.
My 3rd Father was my Stepfather, Paul Powers. My Mother married Paul shortly after my Dad’s death
and they soon were living on the Gulf Coast in the Golden Triangle area. In 1947 I began spending the
summers with my Mother, Stepfather and sister. It was the summer of ’47 that I still remember and
perhaps was one of the key influences of my life. Paul was a shift worker for Goodrich Gulf Rubber
Company and after his “Graveyard” shift, he had three days off and he liked to go to the beach. This is
where I learned how to float on my back, swim in the surf, seine and beachcomb. Paul taught me how
to float and swim and to appreciate the beach. Were it not for my Mother marrying Paul Powers I would
not have had my beautiful sister, Vivien. Nor would I have had my wonderful stepbrother, Paul Jr.
(Bubba) Powers. We were all together on Father’s day in 1947 and for me the memory is quite vivid. I
chased and caught a swimming balloon (more later) and had a terrible sun-burn. I saw these two blue
balloons floating in the surf and gave chase. Unluckily, I caught them and received a very painful sting.
What I thought was a balloon was a Portuguese-man-o-war. So, thanks, to my 3rd Father, I had my
first experience with Oceanography, which later I learned to love. I taught Marine Science or
Oceanography for almost 40 years and took my high school classes on field trips each year to study
the Gulf. So, today, I salute my Stepfather, Paul Powers; my 3rd Father, who introduced me to the
ocean and gave me a foundation for later study.
My 4th Father was my Father in-law, Bob Ashe. Bob and I met for the first time, 2 days before Pat and
I were to be married and I immediately felt at ease with him. I can thank Bob for giving me my beautiful
wife and for teaching her to be the person she is. Bob was always there for us, not only financial
support, but moral as well. So today, I salute my 4th Father, Bob Ashe; thanking you for all that you did
My “Fathers” would not be complete without adding in my Uncle Frank, because he too was a “father
figure” for me. Uncle Frank married my Aunt Martha and gave me two cousins, John and Sam; who
were more like brothers. He was the first to give me instructions of how to catch a football and how to
hit a golf ball. Thank you, Uncle Frank!!! It’s not your fault that I never learned to hit the golf ball
correctly!!! Today I salute you on Father’s Day!!
Thank you God for giving me these men in my life and thank you for being there when we needed you!!