History and a Lifelong Lesson

by DanWolgemuth on June 18, 2021

It was early in the morning of April 17, 1978 when Mary and I walked into our apartment on 1815 ½ Street, in Fort Wayne, IN. Actually, it was more like the middle of the night.

Much to our surprise, soon after we walked up the very steep steps to our second-floor abode, the phone rang. A phone with a cord, rang. A phone that was connected to a wall, rang. The only phone in our lives, rang. It was Don Cargo on the other end of the call. My newly minted father-in-law. A man I highly revered, and likely still feared to some extent. A man, who just nine days before, had walked his daughter, now my wife, down an aisle in Franklin, Michigan.

This was to be our first night together in this apartment. In the intervening days between our wedding and our entrance into the apartment, we had honeymooned at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. The plan was that we would be returning to Fort Wayne by the evening of the 16th, but those plans were interrupted by a Major League Baseball game in St. Louis. The Cardinals were playing the Philadelphia Phillies, and while I cared little about either team, the sound of ending our honeymoon with a stop-over at Busch Stadium just seemed too good to pass up. At least to me. Actually, only to me.

The weather for the game was dismal. Mid-40s with a steady drizzle. In other words, not a very compelling encore to our first week as husband and wife. But I persisted. And watch the game we did. Along with a sparce crowd of just over 11,000.

In fact, baseball history was made that night. Bob Forsch, the starting Cardinal pitcher, threw a no-hitter for the home team. Simply stated, that meant that the game was very boring until the last three to six outs. But indeed, Bob Forsch closed the deal. The first Cardinal no-hitter in St. Louis in 54 years.

For the 367 miles between the stadium and our new shared address, I tried my best to convince Mary that we had been a part of something historic. Our “chill to the bone experience” had paid dividends. She remains unconvinced to the day.

What I had underestimated was that without adequate communication technology, my father-in-law had become increasingly concerned that we had not yet arrived in Fort Wayne. He knew nothing of my ad hoc plans, and he cared even less than Mary did about MLB history. What Don Cargo knew was that his 21-year-old daughter was unaccounted for.

In the pre-dawn hours of April 17th, 1978, I learned a lesson. A life-sticking lesson. A great father never stops being a great father. Even after a trip down a center-aisle. Even when she says, “I do”. Even when she’s an adult. A good dad is always an involved dad. Always pursuing. Always leaning in. Always caring. Always engaging. Always loving… with escalating intensity.

I loved Mary Cargo Wolgemuth very much. Enough to commit to share my life with her… but I wasn’t her father. And he was righteously and appropriately worried about his precious daughter.

And nearly every Father’s Day since 1978, I think about this lesson. The lesson of a loving father. The insight into a holy and perfect God. Our Father.

He watches. He waits. He pursues. He loves.

Even at 4am on April 17th. Even when we think we can handle life on our own. Even when we declare our independence. A Father. The best Father.

Father’s Day 2021. 44 years later. 11 years after Don Cargo went to his Heavenly Father. I will not forget.

A husband… as a steward of a father’s love. The Father’s love.

As an epilogue… in a similar fashion, at roughly the same time on March 14th, 1981, the phone rang. This time in the Labor Room of Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne. We had checked into the hospital at dinner time on the 13th, and the subsequent silence had stirred Don Cargo deeply. Again. His daughter. In labor. Without update… a refresher course on a father’s love.

Three hours later Don Cargo had his first grandson, and new level of love and respect for his daughter. And I had another lesson to reflect on.

“Children of God”. That’s what we are. Always.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: