Old newspaper clipping dad running a transit
Dad worked the equivalent of 2 full time jobs all the while I was growing up.
I don’t remember seeing much of him except on the weekends.
It wasn’t until mom had a run in with cancer that priorities and family patterns started changing.
Definitely never heard “I love you” or “I’m proud of you” those early years. though I’m sure both were true…we just weren’t a verbal / “touchy -feely” family. I didn’t really know what a hug was until I married into my wife’s family.
It wasn’t until I was in my early 40′s that dad asked if he could take me out for breakfast on my birthday.
It was a stretch.
The only thing we felt comfortable talking about those first few birthdays was work.
That year, Dad began taking all of my siblings out when our birthday’s rolled around. He wanted to invest in and regain some of the ground lost from our youth. A few years later, my siblings and I decided it would be good to take him out for breakfast on his birthday.
Siblings taking dad out for his birthday
Yesterday we had a surprise party for his 80th birthday. The four of us kids invited people he had worked with over the years to a buffet at the local truck stop.
He didn’t see it coming
I’m feeling nostalgic today….can you tell?
Here are some random things I’ve picked up from my dad.
#1 “Retirement is not in my vocabulary” He is still working, though not quite as intensely as he did 10 years ago. He was pouring concrete walls last Saturday morning with my uncles crew at a dairy set up. He loves what he does (farms 240 acres of ground and part-time construction.) Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life
#2 “Look people in the eye when you talk to them, and have a firm hand shake.“ Yep. If you ever meet me in person, expect both. I got both of those traits from my dad.
#3 It is possible to love the same woman your whole life time.
Mom and dad celebrated 55 years together last Fall…and they still like each other.
#4 Real men have a spiritual dimension to their lives. He is not just a “go through the motion” type of guy.
I’ve watched him wrestle with what it means to bring your faith with you to the construction arena.
#5 I’ve definitely picked up the “farming bug” and love for animal from my dad.
#6 Heart of mercy. Yep, got that one from him for sure. I remember one time, our family dog had taken a liking to fresh chicken. ie. he got into the chicken house and killed several hens. Dad took the dog out behind the barn to put him down…cause once a chicken killer/ always a chicken killer…that’s just how it works. Dad came back in the house a few minutes later and said. he just didn’t have the heart to shoot the dog…it just sat there on its haunches, looking him in the eyes, with a guilty look.
#7 “Your word is your bond. If you tell somebody something, then by golly, you need to follow through on it.” In the mid 1970′s one of the local banks in our community decided to build . It was built on a handshake between dad and the bank president. I’m serious. Things are still done around here on a handshake on occasion.
#8 If you win every job you bid, then you’re probably too low. Profit is not a dirty word. Regardless of what the politically correct crowd would have you believe today.
#9 Attitude. There is power in a positive attitude….and I DO have some control on what I allow my mind to think on.
I remember dad reading Norman Vincent Peal’s book, the Power of Positive thinking….to this day, those thoughts are with me.
#10 Hair is sooooooooooo over rated. I’ve got my receding hair line from my dad and by the look of things, have passed it on to my son.
It’s never too late to set some new patterns in your life. Even in your 70′s and 80′s you can do it if you want. You really can.
Well, it feels like it’s about time for my power nap. DM