Lessons from Dad…Fishing, Coffee Cans in the Boat, and Goose Hunting
I sure loved my Dad.
He taught me many lessons…
Girls can do anything, but don’t have to do everything: Our entire family went deer hunting (for food, not sport). Off I went to gun training (and was a pretty good shot I might add), but when it came to hunting season I decided I’d rather shoot a deer with a camera, not a gun…and Dad was ok with that.
Always keep your word: When Dad said the kids needed to be quiet and behave or he’d turn the car around and we wouldn’t get to go to Grandma’s house…he meant it. We found out the hard way. Grandma’s house was about 4 hours away and we were about 3 1/2 hours into the drive when he turned around.
Believe in God and have Faith: Dad’s faith was so important to him. I’ll never forget him telling me that God always comes first, then he’d explain that Mom was next, then the kids, then work, etc. But always put God first.
Fishing can be fun: And when it isn’t, it’s ok to read a book with a line in the water. To my brother’s chagrin, that’s how I caught my 8 lb muskie.
You really can go potty in a coffee can in a boat…if you absolutely have to: Trust me, it’s ABSOLUTELY not something I’ll EVER make my kids do, but when you were fishing with Dad – you went out early and stayed out all day…never going into shore for ANYTHING. Ugh.
Apologize when you’ve wronged someone: A few months after a horrible argument over my divorce and subsequent move, he came and apologized to me.
Make sure your loved ones are taken care of: Whenever Dad had to be in the hospital he’d ask me to be there for Mom so she wouldn’t have to be alone.
Love your spouse with all your heart and appreciate all they do for you: He loved and adored Mom with his whole heart until the day she died. I feel the same about Timothy.
Grandchildren are allowed to do anything(!): I’ll never forget going to pick up my daughters and finding that they’d put makeup on Grandpa. All I could think was “This is not the father I grew up with!”
Dream and keep on dreaming: Dad had Alzheimer’s, but it didn’t stop him from dreaming about what he’d like to do with the rest of his life. He had a plan to build a camp to help troubled kids…and I was to be his numbers person. This may have been his Alzheimer’s talking, but he was never one to shy away from helping someone.
Always help others: I’ll never forget when we were at a church service in another town and all of a sudden there was a commotion. Dad had seen that a burning candle had started a fire on the pulpit, jumped up, grabbed the burning wreath and ran it outside to put out the fire. All before anyone else seemed to know what was going on (including me).
Be firm, but good to your peers at work: Dad was a supervisor at a local mine, and I remember him talking about his crew. He genuinely cared for them. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of his team members and they talk about what a good guy he was and chuckle about their experiences with him.
Laugh: Dad would tell great stories about Mom. There was the time she baked cookies and sent extras in his lunchbox so he could share…unfortunately one of his coworkers bit into a bolt that had fallen into the cookie from the oven! Then there was the time that Mom shut their bedroom door halfway…and he ran into it when he got up in the middle of the night…he heard giggles coming from the bed as she realized he’d hit his head (as a blood trickle ran down his forehead). Dad would shake his head and laugh as he told the stories.
Be firm with your kids, make them toe the line, don’t let them disrespect your mate: When Dad spoke, you listened. When Dad told you to do something you did it. And you never, I mean NEVER spoke back to Mom.
Appreciate it when others do things for you: Dad appreciated everything you did for him…always saying thank you.
If you’re going to give a hug mean it: Dad gave the best bear hugs.
How to polka and waltz: Dancing with Dad was the best, sometimes he’d spin you around and your feet would hardly touch the floor.
Take care of what you have: Clean your car. Get your oil changed. Keep your house and lawn looking nice. Be proud of what you have, even if it isn’t as fancy as what others may have.
Goose hunting can be fun too: Not that I loved the early morning trudge to the goose blind, but I was ever so thankful for a sleeping bag and nap once we got there…oh, and practicing my clarinet made an excellent goose call.
Say I love you: My most cherished memory of Dad is hearing him say “Love ya kid”.
Happy Father’s Day in Heaven Dad…
I love you too.
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