Road Trip With Daddy by Shannon Taylor Vannatter
Posted by Jennifer Slattery on June 17, 2011
Today Shannon Taylor Vannatter, author of the White Rose Trilogy, shares a special story that should get you thinking of your own father this Father’s Day. Where would we ladies be without our encouraging Dad’s standing behind us? Most likely, a large part of who we are is because of them. As you read Shannon’s story, pause to thank God for the earthly father He’s provided. Then find a way to show gratidude.
White Doves dedication: To Daddy, my number one fan. I’ll never forget our trip to Dallas when you took me to claim my first important unpublished writing award, babysat my five year-old in the pool all day, and told everyone you met that your daughter was a writer.
ROAD TRIP WITH DADDY, by Shannon Taylor Vannatter
(Story behind the dedication)
In 2007, I received word that I’d finaled in the Touched By Love writing contest and the winners would be announced at the Faith, Hope, & Love Conference in Dallas. I’d already paid and planned to attend American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, also in Dallas that year. My husband didn’t have any extra time off to go and we didn’t want to spend the extra money.
When my parents learned about the contest, they decided to take me there and make a mini-vacation out of our trip, and fund the entire thing. In awe, I made the arrangements. The conference hotel was already full, but I found another with available rooms. Very expensive rooms, even with my special writers’ rate. Mama and Daddy approved, despite the cost. We talked about trips to the zoo and visiting Charlie Pride’s house, Daddy’s favorite singer.
Two weeks before our trip, Mama’s coworker had to take a medical leave. Which meant, Mama couldn’t go. Without her, and saddled with entertaining my active five year-old, I knew Daddy wouldn’t have as much fun.
I offered him an out. We didn’t have to go. It was early enough I could get the registration fee back and cancel the hotel. But, Daddy wouldn’t hear of it.
The day before the conference, Daddy, my son, and I set out for Dallas. Daddy drove most of the way. With one weakened and one surgically improved knee, we stopped often, so he could stretch. He refused to let me pay for gas, food, or even snacks.
Seven hours later, we arrived. The hotel was huge. Unwilling to make another trek, we piled high with luggage. Even my son was loaded down. We walked miles through the spiral parking deck, then crossed the busy highway to get to the entrance.
At the service desk, I learned our room was way on the other end. After checking in, I just knew Daddy’s knee would play out, but he trudged on, burdened with the majority of the suitcases.
Anxious bellboys lined the plush carpet in the long corridor. “Do you need help?”
“No.” I didn’t want Daddy spending any more money. He’d already paid for everything else.
We finally made it to the room and unloaded. All we wanted to do was stay put, but Daddy thought we should find the other hotel before morning.
My poor son lagged behind. “When do we get to swim?”
We took the elevator back down and asked for directions.
“A train leaves every thirty minutes.” The clerk handed me a confusing map. “It will take you right to that hotel.”
We went outside, in search of the train, only to find at least a dozen. The map didn’t make sense to either one of us. With helpful advice from the locals, we found the right train and managed to buy a ticket. Daddy’s bad knee continued to hold up.
“When can we swim?” My son asked, at least a dozen more times, on the way back to our room. Looking at our train tickets, I noticed it said they expired at midnight. In the morning, we would repeat the entire process.
Getting late by now, my son swam in the tub, then I took a shower. When I came out of the bathroom, Daddy was splayed on the other bed, still in his traveling clothes, already snoring.
The next morning, he wouldn’t hear of me walking the streets of Dallas, or riding a train alone. He and my son got up early with me, bought more tickets, rode the train, made sure I wound up at the right hotel, then headed back to our hotel and the pool.
All day, I bragged to other attendees about my dad bringing me and entertaining my son. Numerous awwws resulted.
After the conference, I called Daddy. He and my son met me at the train station.
“I won second place.” My voice quivered with excitement.
“Second place. That’s great.” Daddy’s hair stood on end, waving in the wind. He and my son looked like prunes.
“Did y’all stay in the pool all day?”
“Most of it.” Daddy remained unperturbed.
All the way home, each time we stopped to get gas or stretch, he bragged on me. “This is my daughter. She’s a writer. She won second place in a big contest.”
Back in the car, we discussed where to stop for supper. During the whole trip, he’d pointed out every IHOP he saw, then pulled in at the cheaper fast food places.
“Let’s go to IHOP and I’ll buy.”
We did, but he grabbed the ticket.
I mentioned that I’d come prepared to win third and be happy with that. Second was even better.
“So, you knew you’d won something when you came?”
“Remember, I told you, they called and said I finaled, but I didn’t learn what place until today.”
“That was this conference?”
It was then I realized he had my conferences mixed up. He drove me all the way to Dallas and funded the entire trip, without realizing I’d won a thing, so I could be there just in case.
What’s the sweetest thing your father ever did for you?
* * *
Shannon Taylor Vannatter, author of the White Rose Trilogy, married her high school sweetheart. Since then her husband answered the call to preach and they became first-time parents 16 ½ years into their marriage. She is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. When not writing, she runs circles in the care and feeding of her husband Grant, their nine-year-old son, and their church congregation. Home is a central Arkansas zoo with two charcoal gray cats, a chocolate lab, and three dachshunds in weenie dog heaven. If given the chance to clean house or write, she’d rather write. Her goal is to hire Alice from the Brady Bunch.
Her debut novel, White Roses is a finalist in the Inspirational Readers Choice Awards. The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards named her #3 Favorite New Author, White Roses as #1 Contemporary Novel and #2 Favorite Contemporary Cover, and White Doves as #8 Contemporary Novel and #1 Favorite Contemporary Cover.
Vannatter has taught numerous writing workshops and is scheduled to teach a class at American Christian Fiction Writers in St. Louis in Sept. Learn more about Shannonand her books at:
This entry was posted on June 17, 2011 at 6:13 AM and is filed under Authors, Heart and Home, Parenting. Tagged: American Christian Fiction Writer's Conference, Daddy, Father's Day, Shannon Taylor Vannatter, touched by love. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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