It's been ten years since you died. The memorial date is right around Father's Day this year. I still think of you a lot, especially on Father's Day. Now I get calls or cards from my grown children and small grandchildren. I am the Father, the Grandfather, but I know that a big part of who I am as a Father/Grandfather is due to your influence. So that's why I think of you, especially on Father's Day. I know I didn't always heed your advice when I was younger but you were my main role model. I appreciate most I guess the way you treated Mom with respect and love. I don't think I ever heard you raise your voice to her. I am sure you had disagreements and I knew when things got silent between the two of you something was not quite right but our world was rock solid because of your faithfulness to her and our family.
I know there were a lot of things you could have been doing. You worked hard with many long nights in the office or on the phone. But, you were there to coach our teams and take us on camping trips every summer. You modeled putting family first. I have tried to do the same.
I remember getting up early most mornings and finding you up already reading your Bible or praying in big chair in the living room. I know we gave you lots to pray about as you drove during the day or pulled off the road so you could concentrate more on your prayers. I knew God was real to you. I didn't always care for the churches we went to and I don't remember much about what was said or done there but what sticks with me is that you and God had a relationship. I wanted that, too.
I wish you had been a little more patient with me. I marveled at the way you were able to fix almost anything at home. It seemed like we never bought anything new because with a little tinkering you could fix it. I guess it was easier to do it yourself than teach me. To be fair, I probably didn't seem too interested either. I often wish I had more of your practical skills.
Back in the day you grew up men didn't show a lot of affection. Your affection for Mom was mostly private and we didn't do a lot of hugging as a family. I was glad when the ice broke finally when I was grown up. I could tell when you realized it was ok to hug it meant a lot for you to give me a hug when we met somewhere for breakfast or visited in each other's homes. It sure meant a lot to me.
I enjoyed listening to the good times you had when the couples you were friends with came over for a night of games or conversation. The laughter that filled the home was intoxicating. I loved those times. I wish there had been more of them. I guess life was pretty serious then, too. Church was serious, I remember. Maybe it was the threats to our faith and way of life we felt that made us more wary than joyful. I appreciated your smile and easy laughter with people. You enjoyed being with people and no matter where you were you could get a conversation going with someone. I think I may have inherited that from you. I enjoy getting to know people, too. I am still trying to laugh more though and I think you wanted to, as well.
Your job took you away a lot and you didn't have too much "leisure" time. Those Saturdays when you took me along to visit the farm equipment dealers you called on were special times. Of course, what I liked the most was when we stopped at the diner for a fried cake and coffee - milk for me. But I dunked my fried cake just like I saw you doing. It must be noted, however, that we did not like it when you interrupted our vacation trips to stop at one of your dealers. Those stops seemed to take forever!
I wish your thriftiness had been passed on but I have to say I am a bit more loose with money than you were. Maybe it is a reaction to your thrifty ways. Marcia is the thrifty one. She is always chiding me about buying a daily paper or a cup of coffee when we could make it at home and take a thermos with us. Like you did. With the way the economy is going, the lessons of thrift you tried to teach me may come in handy. It may come to buying day old donuts and finding a place where they sell senior citizen coffee for a nickel!
Thanks for the memories this Father's Day, Dad!