For Mary Jo Smith, Father’s Day affirms and provides many memories, lessons, hopes and dreams to help frame the meaning on the holiday.
The Kingston Springs resident remembers time with her late father, Lloyd Point, as well as the father of her children and her husband of 33 years, E.G. Smith.
“My dad died suddenly of heart attack,” Smith said. “He had many good years and was a wonderful grandpa to my boys who were 10, seven and four years old when he died.”
She remembers her father as not being an outdoors person.
“He was a reader, loved music, played piano, clarinet, accordion, but he couldn’t sing,” Smith said. “As a grandpa he would put the kids down for nap and sing them to sleep. I remember hearing my youngest through the baby monitor screaming: Grandpa no sing, Grandpa no sing!”
She also remembers the lessons that her father taught her.
“He taught me to never quit,” she said. “Both he and my mother taught us it’s too soon to quit. Just keep pressing on.
“In fact, I wanted to work at the Monroe Harding Children’s Home in Nashville, but it became too stressful and I ended up working here in the library,” she said about her position as library assistant at South Cheatham for the past 14 years.
She said that her husband has been a blessing.
“He relates well to children and has a childlike quality in many ways,” she said. “I remember after our first was born, he said to me that he wanted to have lots of children!”
She said E.G., who is well known in the community as a musician and a community theatre performer, is a great listener and reserves judgment well.
“What stands out about fatherhood for E.G. is his willingness to put others needs in front of his.” She said. “He’s a wonderful dad, a steady breadwinner, involved with the kids. They can call him, reach out to him, spend time with him and it’s very gratifying.”
A Kingston Springs father
Kingston Springs resident Jack Kapanka is a father of four who is known throughout South Cheatham as a gifted songwriter and community activist and volunteer, helping out at the Ark in Pegram.
“I think I’m the luckiest position in the world,” Kapanka said. “I’ve got four beautiful children that I don’t know how but they do nothing but bring me joy. They’re amazing. Every stage of their life — I don’t know how we did it. Every single step with these kids has been smiles and hugs and love.”
He and his wife, Kandy, have four children: Summer, 20; Gabby, 18; and fraternal twins, Lilly and Jack, 11.
“Lilly is into basketball and volleyball, Gabby is getting ready to work at Sweet T’s, Summer is in South Africa and Jack is in a play at the Renaissance Center as the coroner in Munchkin Land,” Jack said. “The kids cheer each other on.”
Kapanka said he loves the positive feedback he receives as a family man.
“Hearing others talk to us or compliment us on our kids, it’s such a beautiful thing,” he said. “It makes you feel so good. Summer’s doing a blog from South Africa, and it’s very moving. My kids teach me everything. I love watching them learn. They understand the importance of learning. They bring out love that I never knew I could feel. They feel good about what they’re doing and path they are on.
“Honestly, there are lots of good kids out there. In Cheatham County as a whole. There are a lot of great parents out there.”
He said the biggest challenge of fatherhood is trying to be fair to each child.
“Be consistent, don’t favor one because each child is unique,” he said. “Summer is regimented, Gabby laid back, Lilly’s shy right now and Jack is finding out that he has a voice and he can perform.”
Kapanka was clear in his offer of fatherly advice.
“Love them all the time, never let them think you don’t love them,” he said. “Don’t let them get away with things. They are your responsibility to stay on them.”