In Honor of Dad - Part 1 (Transcript)

Dr. James Dobson: Well, welcome everyone to this Monday edition of Family Talk. I'm your host, Dr. James Dobson, and I really do appreciate your listening to us today. Most of you have heard me talk about my father and how influential he was on my life. I would certainly not be the man I am today without his love and sacrifice and dedication. I hope you were able to appreciate the Father God has placed in your life.

Today we are going to continue to celebrate Dads through a recorded message from comedian Dennis Swanberg. They call him the Swan, and he's been a great friend of mine for many, many years. I remember listening to him the first time I was driving to work one day and I was laughing so hard. I nearly hit a telephone pole, and he has such a creative sense of humor, which includes not only jokes and voices and things along with his impressions of celebrities. Dennis is also an ordained minister and has been for over 20 years, and he is highly sought after as a speaker. Today's program's going to feature Dennis poking fun at his southern upbringing. I was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, so I really resonate with that. These are some of the lessons he learned from his dad. Here now is that recording on this edition of Family Talk.

Dennis Swanberg: I love my daddy Floyd Leon. Some of y'all have heard about Floyd Leon and Pauleen Bernadeen. I'm not making those names up. Floyd Leon and Pauleen Bernadeen. My grandpa's name was Elof. We had a grandma Agda. We had an Aunt Signy, we had an Uncle Tury. We had a Uncle Yngve. I thank God for Dennis every day of my life, Amen. But I love my daddy, Floyd Leon. He's a man's man, 6'2", 220 in his prime. Floyd Leon raised a sharecropper, is a sharecropper. He was a working man all of his life. I'm going to tell you, my dad, he knows how to work. My daddy, he's the kind of man that would do moving and hauling.

He was a printer for 45 years and he would do that till 4:30. Then we'd go do moving and hauling. Then we'd go cut grass, amen. And we would even sell fertilizer from our farm. We'd sack it up and go to the rich part of town with sacks of fertilizer from contented cows, amen. That means a lot. You don't want anything from an uncontented animal, I'll tell you that. It can set you free. But anyhow, we'd go the wealthy part of town, I'd bring those sacks up to these little ladies' houses. I'd knock on the door. I was a little boy, daddy'd have it out there in the truck and she'd say, "Yes, What can I do for you?" And I said, "Ma'am, would you like to have some fertilizer for your azaleas from some contented cows?"

She'd say, "Well..." "It's dollar a sack. Little bit goes a long way." "Well, I'll take some." I'd tell my daddy "She wants two sacks." He'd bring two sacks up, take it back there to the back of the house, set it back there by the garage or the servant's quarters. You know what I'm talking about? And then I'd get her name. "What's your name?" "My name is Ms. Johnson." "Thank you, Ms. Johnson."

Then I'd make my way over to the next house and knock on that door and she'd say, "Yes what can I do for you, little boy?" I said, "Ms. Johnson bought two sacks of fertilizer from contended cows from our farm. Would you like some? A little bit goes a long way on the azaleas." "Well, she got two sacks? I'll get three." We had that whole truckload sold by noon and had that extra cash. We were working people. We weren't white collar, we weren't blue collar, we were more ring around the collar, amen.

And my daddy, he's a great man. I love my dad. He's been my hero all my life. He was in the 36th Infantry Division, T-patch of Texas, 21 years, amen. He's a man's man. My dad's a deacon and he down there at Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. And when they do those deacon ordination services, it's pretty awesome. They all line up, all the ordained men, and they come up here and they had the contestants up here sitting down in chairs. I mean candidates, not contestants, I'm sorry. And they'd line up my dad and all them, and they'd come up and they'd do the laying on of hands. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's called the laying on of hands. And they're just acknowledging what God has already set these men apart and they'd have lay hands on them and they'd pray over them, say little something over them. And my dad, he's so cute when he does it.

My dad's hard of hearing. Floyd Leon worked with them John Deere tractors forever and them old poppa, pop, pop, pop. I forget what it was called, but loud. He's been around loud machinery, printing presses. And so he is loud and he thinks he's whispering, but he's loud and he doesn't know it. So when he comes up to pray over someone, we all hear what he says. But he's good. He says the same thing for each one of them. It's really pretty precious. And when he's waiting his turn, he's had both knees replaced and sometimes that one leg just sort of goes on out there. He looks like a 77-year-old Elvis, you know what I'm saying?

And sometimes he'll look at the crowd and when they get up there, they've never been on stage in front of all the people. When he gets over here, he'll go, "goodnight" and see someone he knows, "How you doing?" Sees mom out there. She's going, "Hi, baby." "Hey, baby." Gets distracted, then realizes he needs to move up. And then when he lay his hands on, that one leg won't cooperate. So when he has to let it lean out, he puts his hand on me and he says the same thing. He says, "Bless the Lord on my soul and all those in me blessed holy name, you're a good boy." Gets to the next one. "Bless the Lord on my soul and all those in me blessed holy name, you're a good boy." "Bless the Lord..."

And we're out here going, "Daddy, daddy, daddy." But everybody loves my daddy. Been there forever. "Bless the Lord on my soul and all those in me blessed holy name, you're a good boy. You're a good boy." Finally came to the last one. Are you ready? "Bless the Lord on my soul and all those in me blessed holy name, you're a good boy. You still got that truck for sale?" I shared that one time at church and a guy said, "Well, did he get the truck?" I said, "No, man. He opened his mouth too soon. The other guy beat him to it."

I love my daddy. He's a deacon and he's a good deacon. My dad, not only is he a deacon, he's an usher. He's an usher at Hyde Park Baptist Church. I'm telling you, it was about a year or two ago. My older sister and little sister can verify this. My mama can, too. They called me on the phone. I go, "Hello?" "Hey, what's going on?" "Oh, good, Daddy, y'all doing all right?" "We're doing all right." And then Mama, she said, "Daddy, tell him. Tell him, Daddy." "Now Pauleen, I ain't bragging. Good night." "Daddy, I'm proud of you. And tell Dennis, he wants to know. Tell him." "Oh, I'm not gonna. I didn't call to tell him that, Pauleen." "Daddy, tell him. Now, tell him." "Daddy, what is it?" "Well, good night."

"Daddy, tell me. What is it, daddy?" "Well, I've always ushered that south aisle, and this last Sunday they gave me the center aisle." I said, "Well, that's great." Mama said, "He looked so good coming down that aisle. I think it's a reward for years of service." My dad said, "I don't care where I usher. I'm here to serve. I'm here to serve." I said, "Well, dad, that's great." "Well, good night." Mama said, "I was so proud when he came down. I just looked at him and I just smiled and everything. I'm so proud of your daddy. He's got the center aisle."

Oh, my dad, I love him. My dad's in charge of the tea on Wednesday night supper. Wednesday night supper, in charge of the tea. And I love talking to him about that. I said, "Dad, how's everything going with the tea?" "Well, it's going pretty good. We've had some problems." I said, "Whoa. It ain't going to split the church, is it?" "I hope not. But you know how it can be a divisive kind of thing." "Well, what is the problem, daddy?" "Well, a lot of people are taking two glasses. And after two thirds of the people come through, we run out of glasses and have to use Styrofoam cups, and a lot of people don't like it, and I don't like it either. Good night. And it's a problem. I told our education man about it, but he hasn't done a thing about it. Good night."

I went, "Oh dad, that's really something. I'm put that on the prayer list at my church." "Well, just pray that it'll be resolved." I said, "Daddy, why don't you take your money and go buy some glasses and donate it to the church?" "I ain't going around the committee." Oh, help me, Jesus. It started cute this last year. I said, "Dad, how's the tea going?" "Well, we've got some new glasses." "Well, praise the Lord." "They're bigger." I said, "That's great." "Only problem is used to I could get 24 glasses on a tray and now I can only get 17. The lemonade man is having the same problem."

My dad had a serious side to him, too. Just so far, he was for me, provided everything I needed. But for instance, when we'd go out to eat at a cafeteria and go through that cafeteria line, that was huge. To go out to the cafeteria to eat, young people, you hear me? They'd go out and eat at a cafeteria was big. That was huge. And I remember I was so hungry as a teenager, I said, "Daddy, can I have two meats?" He said, "You got 75 cents?" I had to pay for my extra meat. I had to pay for it. He said, "Load up on bread, son. Load up on bread." We were the only people that went through there, we had a meat, we had a few green beans, and just a big old plate of rolls for 3 cents each. "Load up on bread. Load up on bread." Man, I did. That's where I developed a love for carbohydrates. I love carbohydrates, amen. Carbs. I'm thinking about writing a book, Carbs for Christ. Are you with me?

I'll tell you something else that gets me excited. How many of y'all have a George Foreman grill? Raise your hand. Anybody? Is that awesome? A George Foreman grill. I mean, you put your two hamburger patties in there. If you don't know what I'm talking about, listen to me. You put your hamburger patties in there and then all the grease goes down into a tray. Every bit of that grease goes down into a tray, catches every drop of grease. Then you take your bread and daub it in there. I love it. I love it. It's the greatest invention I've ever come across in all my life. You don't lose one drop of it. Not one drop. For some of you wealthy people that go to a country club, you're wondering what I'm talking about. I'll tell you, you know what that is in the tray? Au jus. When you get to that prime rib and they say, "Would you like some au jus on there?" That's the stuff that George Foreman saves for you. Oh, I love it. I love carbohydrates.

And I got to tell you something. Sort of got me sad the other day. I don't know if y'all heard about it, but I'm going to share it with you. I'm going to have several people help me. Billy Graham's going to help me on this one. Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Barney Fife. Billy's going to go ahead, Billy.

Thank you. It is with saddest heart then I must pass on the following news. I want you to listen to me. It grieves us to share this. Swan has been down about this for a long time. Please join me in remembering a great icon of the entertainment community. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection, and he had complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71.

Oh, yeah, now, thank you there, Billy. Dough boy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch. The grave site was piled high with flours, F-L-O-U-R-S, flours.

Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded.

Do you cook a lot, honey? You know it's dough. You knead it. You knead it.

"Oh, right. Okay."

Her husband right now is going "Speak to her. Speak to her. Please speak to her. My prayers are being answered. My prayers are being answered."

Doughboy rose quickly and... He rose quickly. Dough rose. Rose quickly in show business, but in later life was filled with turnovers.

Ronald Reagan here, he was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times, he still, as a crusty old man, was considered a roll model for millions.

Doughboy is survived by his wife, Play-Doh, two children, John Doe and Jane Doe. Plus they had one in the oven.

Did you get that honey? Okay.

And he is also survived by his elderly father, Pop-Tart. The funeral was held at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Hey, what a tribute, amen. What a tribute. And some of you young people, you're wondering, "I don't get it, the play Doughboy." We're talking cans that have dough in or your mama goes whop a whop a whop a, and Dough pooches out. Okay, watch the History Channel, young people, you'll know what I'm talking about. They're going, "I don't know who this dude is."

Woo, woo, woo. Just going right over the head. But anyhow, where was I? I was going somewhere. Do you remember where I was? When you're ADD people, sometimes you're like a channel changer. Just keep punching it and you'll come back to where you were, amen. Those were the days. My daddy and I, we'd watch television like that together. Sports and everything. My dad's always been the encourager. He's always been that type that just builds me up. My daddy... Oh, I remember when I was in college and everything, my mother would say, "Now, call your daddy. Call your daddy." I said, "Well, mama, when I call him, it ain't much conversation." "Well, it means a lot to your daddy. So call your daddy. Call your daddy."

And I remember how I'd call him and he, "Hello?" "Daddy, how you doing?" "Hey, what's going on?" "I'm all right." And my dad's the type... I'll say, "Dad, I love you." I'm bold to say it. "Dad, I love you." But he's not of that generation. And when I'd say that, he would go, "Well, we never had to bail you out of jail." "Well, daddy, I love you. You've meant so much to me all my life. I love you. What you've done for me, how you provided for me. And Dad, I don't know how to say it, but just, I love you." And he went, "Have you changed your oil lately?"

But I remember one time when I was at Baylor University, I called home and I said, "Daddy..." I was talking to him. I said, "It's not looking real good in school. I wasn't the best student. I said, this English is about to kill me." Y'all can tell just the way I talk. It was tough at Baylor University. I said, "Dad, I don't know if I'm going to make it." He said, "Let me ask you this now, are you flunking it?" I said, "No, but I got a C, maybe a D." He said, "Isn't it the main thing you pass it?" I said, "Yes sir." "If you don't pass it, will they let you take it over?" "Yes, sir." "Well, I wouldn't worry about it, then."

It ain't the same with my boys. They went Mississippi College and I'm going to tell you, I know all about GPA and everything. I want to know what you're doing. You better make some good grades. The money I'm putting in there. Just the money I'm spending on Taco Bell and pizza, I want some results. I want something to show for that money I'm putting in. But my dad was always encouraging to me and in the seminary, when I went to the seminary and everything and went and got my doctorate, I got my doctorate degree. When I got my doctorate degree, we were going out to eat after, I told my wife, "Honey, let's just go out to eat where they want to. And then later on, we'll go somewhere nice."

"Honey, it's your doctorate." I said, "Just going to make it simple. We'll go eat at the cafeteria." I said, "And later on I'll take you out to a steakhouse. But that'll be good for Mom and Daddy." So sure enough, when we all finish, my dad said, "Wherever y'all want to eat, now it's on me. Now it is on me. Where y'all want to go? It's up to y'all, wherever y'all want to go." I said, "Dad, there's a cafeteria right over there on I-35 in Fort Worth," where I did my seminary. He said, "I saw it myself. Whatever y'all want." "That's what we want." My wife's going, "Liar, liar our pants on fire."

We get over there, though. My dad, he's so proud of me. My dad just went through high school and what have you, and went to work as a printer when he was 16 years old and stayed there 45 years. My dad, just an awesome man, smart man, but didn't get really that much of an education. Didn't even really grasp perhaps what all I had done, but I never will forget. We get there to the cafeteria and he says, "Y'all get ahead now. Y'all going up there. Go now. It's on me now. Y'all go on. Go on now."

So Lauree, Chad, and Dusty are up there. Laurie's going, and then Mama and then me. And Dad said, "Now come on. Y'all get what you want. Tell them up there. Tell the lady that it's on my... Tell the lady up there. It's on me." "Okay, Dad, we'll tell her." "Tell her. Be sure to tell her now." He can't even wait. And then he goes, "All these are on mine." We're going through the line, and as we're going through the line, then my dad said some precious words to me. You know what he said? "Hey, Den." "Yes, sir?" It's still yes, sir. "Yes, sir?" "Get you two meats if you want."

True story. I love my daddy. He's a good man. My dad, he understands ministry and what have you. He's in the ministry as a layman. Now, he's still a layman, even though his son was a pastor and everything. He understands stuff. Like I'll call him, I said, "Dad, how's church going? How's everything church?" "They slipped another one in on a Sunday." "What daddy?" "They slipped another one in on a Sunday." "What do you mean they slipped another one in?" "One of them seven-11 songs. Seven words. Sing it 11 times."

I said, "Daddy, that's just the way the style is today." "Well, I have a buddy. He was confused about it and I was trying to explain it to him. I told him it'd be like if I was out in the pasture and came into the house and I told him, the cows are in the corn. I said, that would be a hymn. But if I came back and said, the cows, the cows, the cows are in the corn. The cows, the cows, the cows are in the corn. The cows, the cows, the cows are in the corn. I said, now that's a praise him."

That's my daddy.

Dr. James Dobson: Well, this is James Dobson again, and I hope you resonated with what Dr. Dennis Swanberg was saying here on Family Talk. You can learn more about his other hilarious presentations and books by going to That's, and then click on the broadcast tab at the top of the page. That's all the time we have for today. Join us tomorrow and hear the conclusion to Dr. Dennis Swanberg's message about his father. You won't want to miss that edition of Family Talk. God's Blessings to you all.

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.

Roger Marsh: Roger Marsh here with an important announcement. If you enjoy Family Talk and have been blessed by our ministry, or if you want to bless others, please consider supporting us with a financial contribution. The Dr. James Dobson Family Institute is completely listener supported. It's because of you that we're able to bring you quality, content, and resources each and every day, and I'm pleased to announce that during the month of June, thanks to some special friends, we have a matching grant in place. So for each and every dollar we receive, it will automatically be doubled for twice the impact. Now the grant only goes up to $300,000, so why not consider a gift now to double your contribution? To make your donation, just visit or remember, you can also make a contribution by phone. Call 877-732-6825. That's 877-732-6825. Thanks so much for your prayerful consideration and your ongoing financial support of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.
Group Created with Sketch.