Sunday, June 20, 2010

Remembering My Dad on Father's Day

My dad, my hubby and my grandkids.

My first memory of my Dad is just the two of us sitting on the outside steps by our frontdoor. I think I was about four years old. He may have just gotten home from work at his gas station and he was taking a little break.

My Dad never went to high school or college, but he is one smart guy. He always pushed for his children to get educated. I think not being more formally educated is one of his big regrets.

Dad grew up in rural America during the Great Depression . Things were pretty tough for his family, as it was for most families during that time. He came from a family of 12 children, raised on a farm. It's been said that we're either a product of our raising or a reaction to our raising. My Dad chose to be a product of his raising, which made him the person who is loved by so many.

I don’t think Dad ever thought of himself as really brave, but when the world needed him during World War II, he answered that call, as millions of his generation did. Serving in the army along with others of his generation, my Dad helped save the world.

Dad worked hard all his life. I watched him work in a foundry/factory. I saw him work all week at the foundry then drive to his new farm on weekends to work the land. In the early years on the farm I helped him bale hay. I'm not sure he actually knew how important it was for me to see him work hard and perservere even when the weather and the market didn’t cooperate.

Dad made sure we got the medical treatment we needed, even when he didn't know where the money would come from.

Dad took us to church. He taught us that there was someone always watching over us and that it is important to have a strong faith.

There were times when my Dad said, "We can't afford it." It must have hurt to say those words out loud but they were important words for us children to hear. I was never cold or hungry or deprived. I may have thought I was, but I never was. Love for family and friends, respect for others and self-respect cost nothing, but they are more enduring than all the material things in the world. I learned that from my Dad.

My Dad let me know when I was young, sometimes without saying it, that he loved me . Now that we are both older, we can exchange “I love you’s” more frequently.

If someone asked me to describe my Dad in one short sentence, I would say, "My Dad is a man who worked hard all his life for his wife and children and never complained.

Happy Father's Day, dads. More than you may know, you make a difference.

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