As Father’s Day approaches and the market is flooded with gift giving ideas to make those special men in our lives feel loved and appreciated, I am reminded of my beloved father, Earl Henry Rhea. The perfect gifts for Daddy were a box of Sophie Mae Peanut Brittle, a can of Prince Albert tobacco, and a package of new undershirts.
Father’s Day was always celebrated by going to church with Momma and Daddy followed by a magnificent picnic in the backyard. My Father was a native Charlestonian and we were true Southerners feasting on fried chicken, red rice, potato salad, butter beans and okra, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, homemade lemonade, and hand churned peach ice cream.
The celebration always ended with Daddy opening 1 of his 6 boxes of Sophie Mae (There were 6 kids and no matter what else we bought him…we all bought him Sophie Mae). He would give each of us one piece and maybe two if we asked but he never opened more than 1 box. These were his private stash and rightfully so. He never asked for much and gave unselfishly… he deserved it.
This Father’s Day I will be celebrating in the same style that is reminiscent of those wonderful times growing up. I will be hosting a backyard picnic in honor of three special fathers who grace my life and give me reason to celebrate this joyous day: Curtis Mitchell, Dustin Barnes and Craig Snyder, (at left holding his daughter and my granddaughter, Carolyn Grace). And as always I will do what I have done for at least the past 50 years. I will purchase a box of Sophie Mae Peanut Brittle, eat a piece, and lovingly remember Daddy.