Thursday, June 24, 2010

For my Dad

There were many great times spent with our Pop, and even more funny times!  He is a very hilarious man, to say the least!  I have three pages of jot notes written down of special and fun times spent with Dad. Seeing as I'm already a zillion days late writing a Father's Day post, I don't think I will actually get everything written out. Not sure if you want to read everything!  Dad spent hours on end with my sister and I, every lesson taught to us was through time spent with us. Whether it be that work was important and something fun and to be enjoyed, or to walk with integrity, these lessons were taught with time spent with us.

My sister and I were often described when we were younger as stick-like skinny, and this was not used in the same way big, 300 lb. men are often called, "Tiny".  WE WERE SMALL! Dad, however, sometimes missed the fact that we were little, or girls, or really just didn't care.  He would have us out changing tires and oil on vehicles, just in case our future husbands didn't know how!  He also enjoyed our company while he lifted weights, and would ask my sister or I to spot for him.  Mom would absolutely have a bird as she would come downstairs to find one of us standing behind the bench, tiny hands on the middle of the bar, "just in case" Dad needed a hand with the 325 lbs. he was pressing!  He would always calmly explain to Mom that if he ever needed help, it would just be about five pounds or so, and he already checked and made sure we could each press the fifty pound bar with ease....yeah right.  The words, "I can't" were never in our vocabulary, we were raised to believe we could achieve anything.

Our Pop would teach us lessons by example of working hard, taking a stand for what you believe in and taking the day one step at a time. When he was just a young, twelve year old boy, he had his foot caught in a grain auger leading to years of severe pain, and eventually an amputation... and then a second amputation.  In all the years we watched his face grimace with pain, he never complained.  Instead, he would enjoy his prosthetics as a conversation piece, always ordering them in camoflauge, or even Bob the Builder print!   We were on vacation with our family away in the land of warm, when a little boy saw Dad with his prosthetic leg walk by. The little tyke hopped up on a rock and shouted, "Arr, Arr Matey!" Much to the mother's embarrassment! Dad thought this was great fun and has set an example to all of us to embrace any kind of challenge that comes your way. Nothing ever stopped him from doing things he set out to do, even if he simply had to find a new way to do it.

The attitude to strive to do your very best at all times enveloped every aspect of Dad's life, and therefore ours also. At our ball games we could always hear him shouting, TWO, TWO, and we always knew that meant not to just steal one base, take two.  Trying your best did not just mean to work really hard, it meant to stay calm in all situations.  Whether it was shooting a gun or a basketball, we learned to breathe when shooting.  When playing one-on-one he would chirp and chirp and chirp trying to get in our heads, because he knew his opinion held such weight with us, so if we could block that out while we played, no one could affect our game.

For a man born in the 60's his ideologies on gender could be seen as revolutionary.  Raising two girls, he didn’t have to teach us that we were able to do anything as well as boys, and could be completely self-sufficient young women, even though we were that, young women, not men.  There was always that expectation; of course you can, that was the attitude conveyed.  It is not surprising though, that his philosophies have always been before his time, he is one of the smartest people I know. He’s extremely well-read, can talk to anyone about anything, simply because he knows a lot about many, many subjects! Often when my sister and I are discussing issues with our husbands trying to come up with a logical solution, our husbands think it would be a great idea to phone Dad, talk with him and get some feedback. I'm grateful both our husbands love our Dad and think as highly of him as we do.

With all of these wonderful attributes, he will always be known most for his joking and teasing... endless teasing!  Before the days of caller ID, he would phone us, our cousins, or really anyone using different accents and voices referring to himself as one false alias or another.  Only a few times did it end up back-firing, as we would hang up on important people while telling them, “Dad, that accent is terrible!”  Luckily, most understood! 

Along with the voices came nicknames, for everyone and everything, including all the barn cats that already had names! Little sayings permeated everyday life, and we had no idea that they were not common until we went to school and our father was the only one using them.  It was also there we realized several of the sayings were not in English! Doesn't everyone say boots and saddles when it's time to go? Don't you say skin the bunny when taking off a little kids coat? No?

This list is getting rather lengthy, and I am just warming up!  Really though, it was the time, the vast amount of time our dad spent with us growing up that has formed such a strong bond between us.  I will be forever grateful for the time we spent making snow/tree forts and digging trenches in the spring. Whether we were riding horses, playing catch in the backyard, going for rides in his big truck, curling up on the couch in the “hole” (the crook of his legs) for a nap, we learned lessons from Dad. Whether shooting hoops off the side of the old barn or eating onions with dad because he called them begonias (we would never dream of eating onions - they were gross!  Begonias - delicious!) or wearing one of his cowboy hats while working in the yard, we had fun.   Many parents have trouble filling both roles so well, but my dad is truly my father, and my friend.

Happy belated Father’s Day Dad, I love you and am proud to be your daughter.
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