This is my second year without my Dad. He died in the autumn of 2016. I miss him every day. Dad was a great foundation for me throughout my entire life, and even now that he is gone; I still draw from his strength every single day. My Dad was a natural born teacher. I know there is a saying about people who can, do, and people who can’t, teach. That’s not true for natural born teachers. My Dad could do all kinds of things and anything he did he taught someone about it. I learned as much from my Dad teaching me as I did watching him teach other people.
My Dad loved to fish. Again a lot of people think fishing is a joke, and it is the way most people do it, but my Dad was an amazing fisherman. He taught me to fish, my sister, any of our friends who wanted to join, which wasn’t a lot among girls which is too bad, taught people at the fishing hole instead of trying to keep everything for himself, taught people at the bait shop and sporting goods stores. He was generous with his time, wisdom, and material goods. My sister and I helped clean and bag God only knows how many pounds of fish. Then we were sent all over the place to drop off some food for this person and that. They usually gave us tomatoes or something from their gardens. I didn’t know how extra-ordinary all of that was at the time. I had no idea I was seeing the end of that lifestyle being so normal it was just taken for granted.
I had some health issues as a child. I remember times of delirium where I slept for 3 or more days on end, barely even waking up to drink something. My Dad would have me laying on the couch so that when I woke up at any time day or night, he was there. He would get me water, chicken broth, 7 Up which he thought could cure any stomach ailment, and crackers. For some reason every time he had to tell me stories of when he was in the Navy and even big soldiers got sick and were throwing up. I guess he thought that would help, but it made me feel like throwing up even more. Eventually, when I would get better he would laugh to himself with relief and tease me. Sometimes I would be so sick he would be sitting right by me when I woke up and he would exclaim, “She’s opening her eyes!” As if me opening my eyes was the greatest thing that could possibly happen in the world. That always made me smile no matter how weak I was.
My Dad cooked for us when it wasn’t cool for men to cook It was considered women’s work. He cleaned the house and had us help him. He was a carpenter by trade so he remodeled a lot of houses that were fixer-uppers. We would basically live there for free while Dad remodeled, then we went to the next place. It was fun to see the houses change from hopeless looking to nice homes.
He certainly built a good solid foundation in me. I stand on it every day of my life. My Dad may have gone on in life’s great mystery, but he left something behind for me that will last until I die. I hope I leave something as strong and foundational behind for the future.