Little Blue’s Daddy

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Little Blue’s Daddy

By Paula Deen

Father’s Day has never been an easy time for me. Don’t get me wrong, my daddy, Earl Hiers, was the most marvelous man God ever put breath in. He had a big, beautiful, bright smile. And everybody that met him loved him, but no one more than I did. I can remember having to prepare him for my report card, which wasn’t good at all. I said, “Diddy”—that’s how it would come out—“I failed algebra again.” And he’d just smile and say, “Blue, honey, that’s alright because pies were always round to me, they weren’t never square” (he took to calling me Blue because my hair was dyed so black it was blue). So he and his Blue would have a good laugh and not worry too much about that algebra.

You see, Daddy liked to laugh in spite of what the world threw at him. He lost his leg at 16 after he was hit on his bike by a car. It was amputated above the knee. Afterward, he told his momma that he was glad it had happened to him and not one of the other kids, because he could handle it. And that’s just what he did. Everyday he wore this huge, heavy wooden leg and never complained one time. I can still see it standing up in the corner of the bedroom, his pants still on it. Sometimes he’d pretend to get angry and stick a pocketknife right into his leg, just for a laugh. That about gave people a heart attack. In the summer, he would swim with us at night after everybody was gone, so he could take that leg off without frightening anybody. That’s the kind of man he was.

No, my Daddy was a loving father; the problem is I had him for such a short time.

He died in 1966, two days before Father’s Day. He was just 40-years-old. I was 19 and a new bride, certain that I had everything in life all figured out. I had just picked Daddy up one of those silky, white nylon dress shirts that was so popular at the time and was gonna wrap it up as a gift. But he passed away before I could surprise him with it, before he could ever know how good it would feel against his skin. Daddy was buried in that shirt.

They said Daddy had rheumatic fever as a child and that’s what damaged his heart. He survived a valve replacement surgery at Emory University Hospital, but a few months later a blood clot traveled to his brain and killed him. It was the only time I saw him without a smile and mine left with his for some time. After his death I started battling agoraphobia, fearing for my own life at every turn.

It took me years to admit that he wasn’t perfect. You know, he was a dad when it was a man’s world. Momma ran the house, did the discipline, everything. Nothing was required of him but to make a living, and then he did as he damned well pleased. Daddy was governor of the Moose Lodge and he’d stay there late and then go play cards with his buddies, sometimes not coming home until the next morning. Momma never said anything about it, but I know it caused her a lot of heartache. She’d go looking for his car in the middle of the night, just to make sure he was alright.

Even so, my Daddy taught me the importance of family. I remember when I was just married and working at the bank and I went a whole week and didn’t visit my daddy. When I finally came to the house, Daddy sat me down and said, “Blue, honey, I’m gonna tell you something right now. Don’t you ever go one week without me seeing you.” So I didn’t. Today, I hope he can see me ‘cause I sure miss seeing him.

So here’s to all the Daddys out there like mine who thought their children hung the moon. I wish y’all the happiest Father’s Day.

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Reader Comments:


Paula, your dad is looking down on you and he is the proudest Dad because he can see what a beautiful soul you are. Everyone loves you because of your wonderful heart and beautiful smile. You are one in a million and your Daddy knows that. My dad is 90 years old and I love him so much. I lost my mom 10 years ago, so I know the pain in your heart when it comes to losing a parent. Have the best life ever and enjoy every minute with your family, love ya girl!

By Julie on June 15, 2013


Thanks for sharing this lovely memory. I did have to cry, though. It reminded me that we should not allow too much time to pass without visiting our loved ones.

By Jewelle on November 09, 2011


Beautiful story and memories to carry with you forever.I am so blessed to still have my Daddy with me today. He has always been my "main man".

By Doris on August 29, 2011


Paula, I so enjoyed this post on your Father.I could almost feel love and comfort in every word.To hear you say"my Father wasn't perfect"brought a smile to my face.I need to tell you about my Dad.I have a large family..4 brothers and 4 sisters...we were blessed enough to have loving hard working parents..we of course were poor in money but rich beyond belief in always knowing how much each child was loved and made to feel special.My Dad worked 2 part time jobs along with a full time truck driver career.I do not remember him ever taking vacations , he usually just took any job to bring that needed money for shoes,doctor appt.He also was a very social person..volunteer fire player.Of course there were times he made stops coming home from local bar or pool hall. My Mother never complained or yelled..she would just tell us children to go for a walk with her..then she would walk us all to the bar or pool hall and send us all in to tell Daddy that we need him and some milk at home.He would joke with his friends and act mad...then gather his belonging and take us all home.So many memories,so much love. My Father passed away 5 weeks ago ...we were lucky to have have him so long but I feel so lost without him. Our Mother passed away 6 years ago..and I didn't think anyone would take her place but he did.This man who I never saw cook,suddenly became a great chef...he always watched your show and when I would stop by or call,he began with "well you should have seen Paula cooking today"He and I would spend many of my days off cooking some new recipe he saw you do...we specialized in making stuffed peppers and that wasn't enough...we had to make huge amounts to give to family,old friends and neighbors.I so cherish this. Sorry for going on and on ,but I think you will understand all this chatter.God Bless you and your family and I truly praise God for giving us both wonderful parents.

By Patty Cummins on June 16, 2011


Its been five years scents i lost my Dad. I miss him still so much.. He was my hero... My best memory of him was when i was smaii he would dance me around the room on his feet....

By Debra on June 14, 2011


Paula, thanks so much for sharing your beautiful story about your life with your Diddy smile I didn't get to have memories of my Daddy, he passed away just before I turned 2. The memories I have are those shared with me from others. My mom said he was so tall he had to duck through the doorways:) My Mom also said I was his whole world. My parents met when they were young, had me and were planning their future together, however tragically he lost his life in an drowning accident just a few weeks before my second birthday, and a short time before their wedding. Looking at pictures, I knew my Dad had dreamy eyes. I think he was a mysterious man, and very much a dreamer. He liked to play music, and I love to sing, so I think that was probably something we shared. My Mom said he liked to take long walks...and I love to do that also. Mom said one day an old man came to the door needing help with something. My Dad invited him in out of the cold. My Mom said they they sat at the table together for awhile, the old man opened God's Word, and began sharing some time there with my Dad. Mom says she wasnt sure what they spoke about,and possibly...that man could have been an angel...only the Lord knows:) Just a few days later my Dad went home to be with the Lord. This helps me know in my heart that my Dad was a compassionate man...inviting this stranger in from the cold...listening and sharing with him. I love this part of my Dad, He blessed me with that love for people as well. So I guess even if I don't have memories of him, I still feel him in my heart, these good things, some things from Mom, but alot from my Dad smile So as I think on these memories of others, I think about the man my Daddy was. I think about how even now, my little ones would be his whole word too smile I smile, because deep inside me, I know he is looking down, smiling at his baby girl, knowing that she knows that he was an amazing Daddy, even if it was for but a short while. I'm sure that your Diddy is looking down and smiling at you too smile I do want to mention Paula, that you are a very sweet soul. I count it a blessing to watch you on t.v.,laughing together. It makes me feel like I'm there right in your kitchen. I wondered how amazing it would be, if you ever got to see all the people in their homes watching you as your on t.v., watching them laugh, cry, slap someone cuz they are excited about something you! how great it would be...just taking it all in.... My daughters and I and even the boys sometimes, have so much fun watching you on t.v. We learn great things from you, and mostly we all get to laugh together smile You are an inspiration to many of us. It would truly be wonderful to meet you one day, if the Lord allows it will be so. I keep thinking maybe one day, my husband, and children and I will travel south, and eat at your resturant, and maybe we might run into day maybe smile God Bless you Paula... So have you ever tried...deep fried cheesecake? topped with cherries...mmmmm, just wondering...I haven't either, but you inspire me to try something like it smile Your Friend in Christ, Chasity

By Chasity on June 14, 2011


I loved your story, I never really knew my Dad because I grew up in a bording school from the age of 4 until I graduated and what I remember were not good memories. I have a wonderful husband and he is a wonderful Father to our two kids, I couldn't ask for a more wonderful Father to our two kids. I always said I wanted my kids to have better than what I have and I continue to follow that every day of my life. I hope one day my kids talk about their Dad the way you talk about yours. Maddie

By Madeline Piper on June 14, 2011


you have your daddy smile.

By helen ellison on June 14, 2011


Paula, what a sweet sweet story! I lost my daddy 10 years ago and he too had a nick name for me,it was skinny.I learned how to cook from him he worked 3rd shift and always had something cooked and on the table by 6:00 for my step mother and 2 brothers.My mother died when I was only 9. I love your shows it is such a pleasure to come into your home daily! P.S. I sadly am not shinny no more LOL!

By Kathy Lowe on June 14, 2011


I love the story, I lost my dad when I was 20 years old(49 years ago) and I still miss him. Thank you for sharing with us.

By Betty Rae on June 14, 2011


This is sad and so sweet. I cried through the whole story because, although I was 45 when I lost my Daddy, it doesn't hurt any less 6 years later and is still so hard for me to bear. He was in a coma when he died and I didn't get to say bye. Sometimes, when I listen very closely, I can still hear him calling my name. Thanks for reminding us that even though they are gone, the love they gave us is still with us in our hearts. Where we can cherish that love and their memories forever.

By Libby on June 14, 2011


I am sitting here in tears. You have opened up your life to us and all of us as your fans can relate to your story and family life. That is what makes you so endearing to us. I too had a Dad who worked long and hard hours but he always made time for me to take me somewhere and enjoy our time together as a family. Thank you for sharing your warm memories of your Dad. Keep those memories close to your heart and know that he is always there with you no matter what happens.

By Tony on June 14, 2011


Very touching story. I miss my "Diddy" too, so much..

By Sandy Hamilton on June 14, 2011


I have tears in my eyes right now. I was blessed to have my Daddy with me for almost 32 years before he passed away. I was an only child and his "Punkin". I was three months pregnant with my son when he passed away. He told me I was going to have a boy and I told him it had to be a girl because I already had clothes for a girl. He was still insistent that it would be a boy. I told him that he wanted it to be a boy because if it was I would name it after him. He died in November and I had my ultrasound in January and sure enough, I found out I was having a boy. When they told me it was going to be a boy, I was sure I heard him laughing. It has been almost 12 years and I still miss him as much now as I did the day he passed away. I am sure that your Daddy is very proud of you and all that you have accomplished in your life and the fine sons you have raised.

By Sue Ann on June 14, 2011


Your story made me cry. This is our first Father's day without my daddy and it's the hardest thing on earth that I have to face. And tomorrow, June 15th, would have been my father's 69th birthday and it's also the first birthday without him. I just married last August and my husband only had a father-in-law for six months. He passed away suddenly this past February and my heart aches each and every day. But this week is extremely harder for me. This is all too fresh for us. It still hurts your heart that you miss your daddy and he passed away 45 yrs ago! I can see the pain never goes away, huh? Thank you Paula for your lovely story.

By Josephine Vitale on June 14, 2011


What a loving tribute to your dad! I too was a daddy's girl and although he was 90 when he passed on to Glory, I still miss him so much. But, you know what, I think he knows what you are doing and what you have accomplished and is very proud of you! Thank you so much for sharing with us.

By Judy Harris on June 14, 2011


Oh Paula......give us a tissue warning! Love ya girl....mean it!! Linda (the garter maker)

By Linda Hatcher on June 14, 2011


Paula, My daddy's name was also "Earl." I lost him 24 years ago, and it still seems like yesterday. Your post struck my heart, and I thank you so much for sharing and reminding us how precious our memories are!

By Vickie Cotton on June 14, 2011


This time of year is difficult for me, too. I was a "Daddy's girl", too. The youngest child & only girl out of 3 kids. My brothers were 11 & 13 when I was born, so by the time I was 6 or so, both brothers were gone from home. From then on it was like I was an only child. In Jan of 1992, I had my first & only child. He was born 2 months early. Mom had the flu & couldn't be with me. It was daddy who was there with me & my husband through the whole terrifying ordeal. Daddy had ongoing heart problems & he passed away on June 18, 1992. He was buried the day before Father's Day. My husband's first Father's Day. For the short time daddy was with my son, he loved him & spoiled him as much as he could spoil that tiny baby! I just wish my son could have known him. Love you & your family, Paula! Will be thinking of you this Father's Day. By the way, my son always said "Diddy", too!!!!

By Melanie Love on June 14, 2011


Thank you for sharing your precious memories of your father. It made me cry. And I am so sure your Diddy is looking down on you and feeling mighty proud of his Blue, just as I know my own Daddy is looking down on me feeling proud of me! God Bless you Paula.

By Gina Turpin on June 14, 2011

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By SalmaErax on January 06, 2012

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By SalmaErax on January 06, 2012

Times are chagning for the better if I can get this online!

By Rowdy on November 03, 2011

I am trying to find a recipe for black forest fruit pie or cobbler…any suggestions?

By Mary Sheehy on November 16, 2010

        I lost my daddy to cancer 6 months ago and it is very hard on a girl.Our daddies are our first male relationships and its not easy.My momma always said not to ? the good lords work so I dont,but I do miss him and god was good to us giving us time to say lots that we wanted to say to him.I love your family I watch you all the time,I have all of your dishes and cookbooks and have been to you restarant.My hubby tells me I have a unhealthy love for you and your show!LOLLOLOL

By Lisa Covington on August 13, 2010

The first thing I noticed when I looked at those pictures was your father’s smile, and I’m telling you right now..that’s the same exact smile Jamie has!! I couldn’t believe how much he looks like him!! smile

By April V on July 17, 2010

I was such a Daddy’s girl. He taught me that I could be anything I wanted to be and he gave me the confidence to go with it. I also bought him a shirt for Christmas and he died at the age of 50 on my Birthday in February. He was also buried in that shirt. I am sad every birthday. My girlfriends always celebrate my birthday the day after. We all share a common bond with our daddys but we are so lucky to have the memories. I was so prissy (and still am). He bought my first stockings and garter belt behind my mom’s back.. I was 12.. We were both in trouble. I am such a strong woman because of him… Thank you for allowing me to share with you. I also enjoyed your story.. love you

By Diane Taylor on June 25, 2010

Paula, loved the story about your Daddy. I lost my Daddy on October 3, 2009 Just 6 months after I lost My Husband to cancer. Dad was 91 years old and the glue that held our family together. We are totally lost without him. He loved to cook, and lived for Sunday dinners with his kids and grandchildren!! 2009 was such a terrible year for me, losing the love of my life, and then losing Dad. Memories are a wonderful thing. Treasures that will last a lifetime!!

By Brenda Vipperman Thorpe on June 22, 2010

I know people always say “I know how you feel”,well I really do.  I lost my father when I was 19 also.  I was newly married with a baby and going to nursing school.  My “Daddy”  was only 56 years old, and died from a massive heart attack.  My father was a pastor of small churches in and around the Atlanta area.  He worked a full time job also.  I miss him more today than yesterday! Diane Cook, Louisville, Ky.

By Diane Cook on June 22, 2010

Hi Paula
What a beautiful story about your Dad. My Dad has been gone for 19 years and I miss him more now than I did when he left. You have your Daddys smile, it’s wonderfull.

By Paula Gillen on June 21, 2010

Dearest Paula;
Thank you for sharing your memories of your daddy. I remember a lot of wonderful things about mine too. He is still living though. He is 92 years old and there isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t visit each other. I understand how you feel, because even though my daddy is far from perfect, I love him very much too. I am so sorry you lost your daddy so early in life. I lost my mom early in life and I know how hard it is for me when Mother’s Day rolls around. It is very difficult. You are such a precious, sweet soul. I love your cooking show and I adore your family. Take care sweetheart. And thank you.

By Debra S on June 20, 2010

Paula thanks so much for this story.I have cried since this morning and it seems I was lead here with a facebook ad because I get told all the time I look like you which is a awesome compliment.I loved my dad with all my being he like your dad was happy no matter what life threw at him.He left us in aug 06 with his last breathe across my face.He is my angel watchin over me.Thanks again for lil blues story it really helped.Love ya girlie.So hope to meet ya one of these days

By sandra hammond on June 20, 2010

Paula, thank you for sharing your story. I lost my father at 67.  I was blessed to have so many years with him. He was a WW11 veteran, a christian and loved his family and friends. Like you, it is nice to remember all the times when we were young and Daddy would give us a pass or save us from from the bad guys. Love Your Shows - Love and Best Wishes from another Daddy’s Girl!!

By Linda Sloan on June 19, 2010

that is very touching story Paula. i still have my dad with me and i thank god i do.

By Lauren M. Murphy on June 19, 2010

I dont follow celeb’s. But this story touched me. Thank you.

By Amanda Mathias on June 19, 2010

Hey Paula!
Reading this, and hearing you give out some blessings to your Daddy on Thursday night in Jacksonville, was so touching.
My own Dad left our family when I was only three years old. But God gave me another man to fill those shoes…my grandfather, “Pop-Pop.”  Pop-Pop and Mom-Mom raised me and my brother for years to help my mother after our family fell apart. He was kind, loving, hard working, funny…
He is 83 years old, and still alive, but was recently diagnosed with cancer and battled through chemo and radiation.
He never stopped smiling through the pain. His philosophy has always been to push through your pain with a laugh or a joke. He’s one of those guys who won’t tease you if he doesn’t like you, and makes jokes for everyone else! smile
He walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.  I am so grateful for my Pop Pop and for the love and joy he has given me.
Hearing others who have lost their Daddies makes me appreciate even more just how blessed I was to have a Pop Pop to fill in the gaps.
Thank you for sharing, Paula! smile

By Liz Zurn on June 19, 2010

My daddy is gone to and this meant a lot for me to read how you and your dad was…Love you

By Helena Morrell on June 19, 2010

WooHoo Paula - I was surely “taken back” reading your story of your dad. Oh how I loved my daddy & was truly “A DADDY’S GIRL” in DODGE COUNTY!!! You just don’t know what you have until it’s actually gone. Lost my 82 yr. old daddy in a car accident in 2002. Mine was a sharp retired undertaker & he never failed to tell me how much he loved me daily. What a HERO he was to me! He reminds me everyday how he’s still a part of my me finding pennies on the sidewalk (pennies from heaven that he’s thrown to me)or other small ways that I know he’s shining down from above. Great memories that will always be in our hearts. Thanks for reminiscing about the good old days.

By Ann of Dodge Co., GA on June 18, 2010


By PAM ALLEN on June 18, 2010

Paula, I enjoyed your wonderful story about your daddy.  I thought my daddy hung the moon too, and I lost him 14 yrs ago to an auto accident. He and Moma took all 7 of us children to church, and we were very active in the church. He was treasurer, song leader, deacon, and he would do the necessary repairs as needed.  We found out after he died that he had removed and replaced the hot water heater by himself at the church, and had paid for it.  He was the youngest of 4 children, and was also 4 yrs old when his dad left them.  He and his brother were raised at Bethesda Home for Boys, and his brother was killed out there when he was 14 when he was knocked off of a hay truck by a live oak limb.  They had many chores to do, and had to work hard, but they had fun out there too.  They had the best cook out there named Cyrus, and he made the best Savannah red rice.  He would cook their crabs and fish they caught on the back river. We would go out there every year for Homecoming.  My daddy never was mad at his parents for his life, and he taught us to love one another, and take care of each other.  He worked hard at the phone company, and my moma stayed home with us.  My daddy was a wonderful, God fearing, tender hearted man. I miss him but I know where he is, and I am comforted by it.

By Andrea Carter-Brown on June 18, 2010

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