Sunday, June 12, 2016

A tribute to Dad on Father's Day

Dear Dad,
Today is father's day and I want to honor your memory on this day.  Being a father to six children and making enough of a living to support and raise them against some times overwhelming odds against you was perhaps your greatest accomplishment.  As your children, we were well aware of your struggles to get through the Great Depression and to eke out a bare-bones living on Grandpa's farm.  I don't know that you were ever really cut out to be a farmer, but being a farmer was your lot in life and you made the best of it, getting up at 4:30 summer mornings to change the irrigation water, coming back at 7:00 to milk the cows and then getting down to a day's work, followed by more cow milking and chores.  You barely had time to read the Saturday Evening Post, your favorite magazine.  We had a few painful differences, but I never lost my respect for you or my love for you, full well knowing the challenges you faced, hoping for enough grain and hay to get through the winter and enough sugar beets to pay some of the bills.  Your love for marquetry (we called them inlaid pictures in those days, the term marquetry seemed to have grown in from somewhere after I left home) gave you some peace and respite from other worries and concerns and your artistry and talents grew and shone, now treasured and hanging on the walls of your extended family.  

Despite our meager financial resources during my 17 years at home, those years remain among the most treasured times of my life.  We didn't have money, but we learned how to work from both you and Mother and that ability would send me on my way and guide me through my own life challenges in eight years of college and 45 years of teaching school.  We always had strawberry jam and canned peaches and tomatoes and endless ears of corn in summer and gallons of fresh milk to drink and fresh homemade bread and cinnamon rolls.  I have been able to survive many of my own difficulties by reflecting on the perseverance and endless hours of hard work you demonstrated, but didn't preach. You did the best you could and you never gave up.  For all of your lessons by example, for all of the love you showed to all six of us, for never giving up, for your hearty laugh in the face of  daily woes, for all of these blessings and lessons I  and my brother and sisters honor you once more on this father's day as we take a moment or two to reflect on your legacy and your gifts to us.  From your children, June 12 2016


Elizabeth said...

What a good remembrance! I could add a lot more, because each of us saw our parents from different times and places, but I'll wait for another time. Dad was certainly a prime encourager (is there such a word?) to me in my life. When I left home to go to Laramie (with your help), he hugged me and then gave me this advice: "Don't trust men - they're no damned good." Just one of the bits of advice he gave me throughout my life.

Ann said...

Today my iPod is playing on random and there in between the 1812 Overture and the Kingston Trio is Dad's laugh. I put the copies of the family CDs on my iPod just for fun and I can't tell you how delightful it has been to hear familiar voices filling the room. You mention Dad's laugh - wasn't it the best sound ever.
Thank you for sharing your memories and thoughts of someone who influenced the six of us in ways he never imagined.