Ida Danner and her father, David Smith, in November 2013. (Photo: Qcitymetro)
It’s just a guess, but I’m pretty sure Ida Danner of Lenoir would not have been a student in the John Prentice School of Parental Gratitude.
You remember John Prentice. He’s the character Sidney Poitier played in the movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”
In one of the movie’s more memorable scenes, Prentice famously declared that he owned his mailman father nothing for the sacrifices made sending him to college to become a doctor.
It’s the scene I liked least in that 1967 classic.
“If you carried that (mailbag) a million miles, you did what you’re supposed to do," the brash, young doctor scolded. "Because you brought me into this world. And from that day you owed me everything you could ever do for me, like I will owe my son if I ever have another. But you don’t own me!”
Back to Ida Danner. I have a feeling that, unlike Prentice, she’s big on gratitude, because when her father was diagnosed with liver and pancreatic cancer, she refused to give up until she found a way to make his dying wish – to attend Charlotte’s Thanksgiving Day parade – come true.
You might recall the story we did here at Qcitymetro.com.
Well, Danner emailed me this week to let me know that her father, David Smith, had died.
...at 9:20 a.m., she noted.
She said losing her father was the hardest thing she has had to endure in life.
“God was preparing us but I'm really really going to miss my dad,” she wrote. “Keep our family in your prayers.”
It seems gratitude has become an antiquated notion in our me-first society.
Back before thanksgiving, when I drove to Lenoir to meet Danner and her father, I was impressed by her love and commitment to the man who raised her. She talked mostly about the little things – climbing trees and riding skateboards, the time her dad went to make sure the first car she bought would keep her safe.
And I never got the impression, not even for one second, that Ida’s actions were driven by some sense of obligation, or that her father felt that his daughter somehow owed him something for all he had done in her life.
Parental love is funny that way.
As moms and dads, we love and raise our children and then we gladly set them free from any emotional debts they might have accrued.
But then again, what child with an ounce of love or gratitude would ever dream of defaulting on such an awesome debt?
Well done, Ira Danner. You did your father proud.
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